Notre Dame and Louisville didn’t make the cut. But after a two year absence, Ohio State is returning to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The “Big Dance” gets underway this coming Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio.
Villanova, Virginia, Xavier and Kansas will be the number one seeds for this year’s tournament.
All 68 contenders will play against the backdrop of an investigation-riddled season in which bribes and payoffs made bigger headlines than 3s and layups.
The tournament begins Tuesday with opening-round games featuring a matchup of bubble teams UCLA and St. Bonaventure, then kicks into full swing Thursday and Friday at eight sites around the country.
The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 in San Antonio. Shortly after that, a commission led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to deliver recommendations from an investigation triggered by an FBI probe that led to charges last fall against assistant coaches, agents, employees of apparel companies and others.
No fewer than a dozen of the 68 teams in the tournament have been named either in the FBI investigation or in media reports that allege coaches and others have directed payments and improper benefits to recruits and players — thus, breaking rules that go to the core of the amateur-sports code that defines and regulates both the NCAA and the “student-athletes” who make this billion-dollar business run.
2018 NCAA Tournament: full list of teams who made the brackets
32 Automatic qualifiers
Arizona, Bucknell, Buffalo, Cal State Fullerton, Charleston, Cincinnati, Davidson, Georgia State, Gonzaga, Iona, Kansas, Kentucky, Lipscomb, LIU Brooklyn, Loyola Chicago, Marshall, Michigan, Montana, Murray State, NC Central, New Mexico State, Penn, Radford, San Diego State, SFA, South Dakota State, Texas Southern, UMBC, UNCG, Villanova, Virginia, Wright State
36 At-large teams
Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Butler, Clemson, Creighton, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Houston, Kansas State, Miami, Michigan State, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Providence, Purdue, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, UCLA, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wichita State, Xavier
The Tennessee Volunteers will open the tournament Thursday, March 15, 2018 when they play Wright State. Kentucky will face Davidson in the first round the same day.