Turner Sports and the NCAA have branded Monday the first “National Bracket Day” and will flood the streets of big cities and key college campuses, including Kansas University, with bracket sheets, urging fans to fill them out.
The tournament has expanded from 65 to 68 teams this year, and instead of one “play-in” game, there are four. But those four games no longer are being called “play-in” games, rather, “first-round games.” Two will be played Tuesday night and two Wednesday night, with starting times of 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Central both nights. The games, all played in Dayton, Ohio, will be televised on truTV.
The four winners of those games join the 60 teams that weren’t required to play the extra round.
This is the first of a 14-year agreement the NCAA has with Turner Sports and CBS Sports in which every game will be made available in its entirety across four TV networks: CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.
“Creating a day where fans can debate the fate of their teams as they complete their brackets and celebrate the 68 schools and student-athletes who made it into the tournament is a great way to kick off March Madness,” said Greg Shaheen, the NCAA’s interim executive vice president for championships and alliances, of declaring a “National Bracket Day.”