March Madness 2011 is going to have a bit of a different flavor than the past few because, once again, the tournament field has been expanded.
The last expansion added a 65th team and instituted a so-called “play-in” game, which matched the two lowest seeded teams against one another for the right to play the top overall seed. That game has now been eliminated (or perhaps repurposed would be a better word), and three more teams have been added to the field – bringing the total to 68 overall.
In this post we will describe how the newly minted “First Four” round will play out, as well as provide all of the March Madness 2011 dates and locations, plus March Madness 2011 ticket and TV information.
March Madness 2011
NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament
First, here is a quick rundown of the key dates for March Madness 2011:
- Conference Tournaments: March 7-13
- Selection Sunday: March 13th
- First Round: March 15-16
- Second and Third Rounds: March 17-20
- Regional Semi-Final and Final Rounds: March 24-27
- Final Four: April 2nd
- National Championship Game: April 4th
Next, a brief description for the how the First Four will play out:
Each of the 68 teams that make the March Madness 2011 field will be ranked from 1 to 68. The field will then be split into four 17-team regionals. The last four at-large teams to make the tournament (these teams are usually seeded in the 10-12 range) and the last four automatic qualifiers (think: #16 seeds in past tournaments) will then play in the First Four.
- The winners of the two battles between at-large teams will most likely be slotted as either #12 or #13 seeds, to face a #4 or #5 seed, depending on how the committee organizes the bracket.
- The winners of the two battles between automatic qualifying teams will be slotted as #16 seeds to face #1 seeds.
Basically, four teams will be eliminated during the first two days of the tournament and then we’ll be left with the neat, tidy 64-team bracket that we all know and love. The main difference is that what we used to know as the First and Second Rounds (i.e. the tournament’s opening weekend) will now officially be known as the Second and Third Rounds.
Got it? Good. Let’s move on. (If you have questions, pose them in the comment section.)
Now let’s get on with the breakdown of the March Madness 2011 schedule and tournament sites, plus links for March Madness 2011 tickets.
All ticket links below, unless otherwise denoted, are for RazorGator. For all RazorGator tickets, MSF readers are encouraged to use the following codes at checkout to get discounts:
- $30 off on all orders of $300 or more: RG300J
- $20 off on all orders of $150 or more: RG150J
- $10 off purchase over $110 or more: ORDR10RG
- Free shipping on all orders of $$100 or more: FSOVERRG
Note: I don’t know if you can use more than one code per purchase, but I doubt it. Also, these codes work as of February 2nd, 2011, but their continued acceptance is at the sole discretion of RazorGator. Hopefully they continue to honor these codes throughout the tournament.
If you want to price/seat shop among a variety of different websites, here you go:
March Madness 2011 First Four (Opening Round) Dates, Location, Tickets
Host City and School: Dayton, Ohio (Dayton University)
- First Four Dates: March 15-16 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
- First Four Site: University of Dayton Arena
- First Four Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Opening Round in Dayton
March Madness 2011: 2nd/3rd Rounds (Opening Weekend) Dates, Locations, Tickets
Host City and School: Washington, D.C. (Georgetown University)
- NCAA Tournament Washington, D.C. Dates: March 17th and 19th (Thu/Sat)
- NCAA Tournament Washington, D.C. Site: Verizon Center
- NCAA Tournament Washington, D.C. Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Washington D.C.
Host City and School: Tucson, Arizona (University of Arizona)
- NCAA Tournament Tucson Dates: March 17th and 19th (Thu/Sat)
- NCAA Tournament Tucson Site: McKale Center
- NCAA Tournament Tucson Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Tucson
Host City and School: Denver, Colorado (Mountain West Conference)
- NCAA Tournament Denver Dates: March 17th and 19th (Thu/Sat)
- NCAA Tournament Denver Site: Pepsi Center
- NCAA Tournament Denver Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Denver
Host City and School: Tampa, Florida (University of South Florida)
- NCAA Tournament Tampa Dates: March 17th and 19th (Thu/Sat)
- NCAA Tournament Tampa Site: St. Pete Times Forum
- NCAA Tournament Tampa Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Tampa
Host City and School: Cleveland, Ohio (Cleveland State University)
- NCAA Tournament Cleveland Dates: March 18th and 20th (Fri/Sun)
- NCAA Tournament Cleveland Site: Quicken Loans Arena
- NCAA Tournament Cleveland Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Cleveland
Host City and School: Charlotte, North Carolina (UNC-Charlotte)
- NCAA Tournament Charlotte Dates: March 18th and 20th (Fri/Sun)
- NCAA Tournament Charlotte Site: Time Warner Cable Arena
- NCAA Tournament Charlotte Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Charlotte
Host City and School: Chicago, Illinois (Big Ten Conference)
- NCAA Tournament Chicago Dates: March 18th and 20th (Fri/Sun)
- NCAA Tournament Chicago Site: United Center
- NCAA Tournament Chicago Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Chicago
Host City and School: Tulsa, Oklahoma (University of Tulsa)
- NCAA Tournament Tulsa Dates: March 18th and 20th (Fri/Sun)
- NCAA Tournament Tulsa Site: BOK Center
- NCAA Tournament Tulsa Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Second and Third Round (Opening Weekend) in Tulsa
March Madness 2011: Regional Semi-Final and Final Dates, Locations, Tickets
West Regional: Anaheim, California (Big West Conference)
- West Regional Anaheim Dates: March 24th and 26th (Thu/Sat)
- West Regional Anaheim Site: Honda Center
- West Regional Anaheim Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – West Regional Semi-Final (Sweet 16) and Final (Elite 8) in Anaheim
Southeast Regional: New Orleans, Louisiana (Tulane University)
- Southeast Regional New Orleans Dates: March 24th and 26th (Thu/Sat)
- Southeast Regional New Orleans Site: New Orleans Arena
- Southeast Regional New Orleans Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Southeast Regional Semi-Final (Sweet 16) and Final (Elite 8) in New Orleans
Southwest Regional: San Antonio, Texas (University of Texas-San Antonio)
- Southwest Regional San Antonio Dates: March 25th and 27th (Fri/Sun)
- Southwest Regional San Antonio Site: Alamodome
- Southwest Regional San Antonio Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Southwest Regional Semi-Final (Sweet 16) and Final (Elite 8) in San Antonio
East Regional: Newark, New Jersey (Seton Hall University)
- East Regional Newark Dates: March 25th and 27th (Fri/Sun)
- East Regional Newark Site: Prudential Center
- East Regional Newark Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – East Regional Semi-Final (Sweet 16) and Final (Elite 8) in Newark
March Madness 2011: Final Four Dates, Locations, Tickets
Final Four: Houston, Texas (Rice University & the University of Houston)
- 2011 Final Four Dates: April 2nd and 4th (Fri/Sun)
- 2011 Final Four Site: Reliant Stadium
- 2011 Final Four Tickets: March Madness 2011 Tickets – Final Four and NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament Championship Game in Houston
March Madness 2011 TV Schedule and Announcing Teams
CBS Sports will not be the sole broadcaster of March Madness in 2011. In fact, in April of 201, the NCAA inked a 14-year contract with both CBS and Turner Sports (TBS, TNT, truTV) to cover the NCAA mens basketball Tournament through 2024.
Here is now the March Madness 2011 TV schedule will break down:
- First Four Games: all on truTV
- Second and Third Round Games: CBS, TBS, TNT (to be determined how it will split up)
- Sweet 16 Games: CBS and TBS
- Regional Final Games: CBS
- Final Four Games: CBS
Note: all games will be streamed online (either at NCAA.com or CBSSports.com).
The announcing teams and studio crews will be an amalgamation of CBS’ college basketball team and the Turner Sports NBA team.
March Madness 2011 Announcing Teams:
- Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg (to be joined by Steve Kerr and Tracy Wolfson for Final Four)
- GUS JOHNSON and Len Elmore
- Marv Albert and Steve Kerr
- Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery
- Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, and Dan Bonner
- Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel
- Tim Brando and Mike Gminski
- Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel
Studio Analysts: Greg Anthony, Charles Barkely, Seth Davis, Reggie Miller, Kenny Smith, and Steve Smith
Sideline Reporters: David Aldridge, Sam Ryan, Craig Sager, Marty Snider, Lesley Visser, and Tracy Wolfson
Obviously we will have much, much, much more coverage of the NCAA mens basketball tournament and all of the conference tournaments once they get closer. But I wanted to post this now for anyone preparing to make plans to attend any of the games. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait. There is no time on the sporting calendar when I am a happier and more satisfied sports fan than during these three weeks in March and April. They cannot get here soon enough.
UPDATE 2/10: AWESOME NEWS!
No really, this is awesome news.
As reported today by Richard Deitsch of SI.com, college basketball fans will be able to be their “own television programmer for March Madness” thanks to the addition of TBS, TNT, and truTV to the NCAA Tournament TV broadcast team.
In previous tournaments, as you know, all games were broadcast on CBS, which meant that we were all at the mercy of CBS in terms of what games we could and could not watch. In recent years, CBS made all games available online. This was nice, but it’s still more enjoyable to be able to watch your top choice on TV.
And now you’ll be able to.
The expanded 68-team tournament tips off in prime time on truTV on Tuesday, March 15, with a set of games being called the “First Four.” The opening game airs at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by a game at 9 p.m. That schedule will be repeated the next day on truTV.
The two First Four winners will advance to what is now known as the second round. The scheduled start times for these games on March 17 and 18 are as follows: noon (CBS), 12:30 p.m. (truTV), 1:30 p.m. (TBS) and 2 p.m. (TNT). The second set of games begin at 2:30 p.m. (CBS), 3 p.m. (truTV), 4 p.m. (TBS) and 4:30 p.m. (TNT).
Then we get to prime time. TBS opens the coverage with a 6:45 p.m. tip-off followed by games at 7 p.m. (CBS), 7:15 p.m. (TNT and truTV). The final games of the night begin at 9:15 p.m. (TBS), 9:30 p.m. (CBS), 9:45 p.m. (TNT), and 9:55 p.m. (truTV).
The staggered start times mean viewers can toggle between games, as well as get added pre- and postgame show commentary from CBS and Turner talent.
In short: every single NCAA Tournament game will be on TV. Rejoice!
Oops, sorry Michigan State fans. Poor choice of picture. You can’t watch your team on any station if they don’t even make the tourney…