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March Madness is now in full swing as the 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket has finally been revealed. The 68-team field was just released during the Selection Sunday show, ending months of speculation on which schools will be participating in this year’s Big Dance. Here’s a look at the printable bracket for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, which officially begins on Tuesday with the initial pair of First Four games:
The selection committee had its work cut out in picking the four teams that would earn a No. 1 seed in the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. There were a number of worthwhile programs that all had a legitimate argument as to why they deserved a top seed, but ultimately Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga made the most compelling cases and were rewarded with the easiest paths to the Final Four. The ACC was absolutely loaded with talent this year and it’s hardly a shock to see that the conference was rewarded with 75% of the top pods on the bracket. Michigan State, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky earned the No. 2 seeds this year.
The Blue Devils secured not only the top overall seed in the East region, but also the entire field after running the table in the ACC Tournament. Duke has been and will likely remain the odds-on favorite to cut down the nets in Minneapolis this year, especially if star player Zion Williamson remains healthy. The freshman phenom recently returned to the court after a six-game absence and absolutely dominated during Duke’s title run. He’s the leading candidate to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award, adding another piece of hardware to his collection before he likely becomes the top overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Williamson and the rest of Coach K’s squad begins its journey to the Final Four against the winner of a play-in game between No. 16 seeds NC Central and North Dakota State.
Virginia nabbed the No. 1 seed in the South region after yet another fantastic regular season. The Cavaliers will now seek to avenge their embarrassing loss to UMBC last year, when the Wahoos infamously became the only No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the Big Dance. Virginia is coming off a defeat in the ACC Tournament semifinals to Florida State, but a share of the conference regular season title and second-best ranking in the country going into the postseason was more than enough to convince the committee that the school deserved a lofty seeding in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
UNC was not able to complete a three-game sweep of the Blue Devils, but two wins against them—albeit both without Zion Williamson on the floor—and a share of the ACC regular season title with UVA helped offset a loss in the ACC Tournament semifinals to archrival Duke. The Tar Heels should happy with earning the No. 1 spot in the Midwest, as all three of head coach Roy Williams previous championship winning squads began March Madness as a top seed.
InsideCarolina noted that the Tar Heels have set a record for most times earning a No. 1 seed and have earned a top spot in half of all NCAA Tournaments since 2003”
Gonzaga went into the WCC tournament as the country’s top-ranked team in the polls and boasted the nation’s best record. The Bulldogs still had to sweat out the selection committee’s decision, however, after falling in the conference championship game against St. Mary’s. Ultimately no other team was able to do enough during champ week to usurp Gonzaga as the No. 1 seed in the West region and the program will seek to claim its first ever NCAA Tournament title in its 21st consecutive appearance in the Big Dance.
This year’s potential field was also rife with talented, albeit inconsistent teams that had to sweat out the committee’s decision on the bubble. The last four squads to receive an at-large March Madness were Temple, Belmont, Arizona State and St. John’s. The Owls and Bruins will take the court in Dayton for the right to claim the No. 11 seed in the East region and meet No. 6 Maryland in the Round of 64, while the Sun Devils and Red Storm square to determine which will get the No, 11 seed in the West region to face No. 6 Buffalo.
Now that you’ve seen the official March Madness bracket and have an idea of the contenders in the field, here’s everything else you’ll need to know for the event, including the full round-by-round TV viewing schedule, odds for a perfect bracket and more related to the 2019 NCAA Tournament.