After a full regular season, all the conference tournament games and the Selection Sunday show, it’s now officially time to celebrate the start of March Madness 2017 and the excoriatingly joyful process of filling out your bracket(s).
The NCAA announced early Sunday evening the entire 68-team field for its men’s college basketball tournament with the defending champion Villanova Wildcats named the top overall No. 1 seed out of the East Region, followed by the Kansas Jayhawks in the Midwest Region, the North Carolina Tar Heels in the South Region and the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West Region.
Here you can download brackets from ESPN, the NCAA's official site, or if you prefer to fill in the entire bracket yourself, PrintYourBrackets.com, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo have a full one without the teams.
The Duke Blue Devils, who many believed were in line for a No. 1 seed, are the No. 2 seed in the East. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad will face No. 15 seed Troy Friday, and many will anticipate a showdown with Villanova for a shot at the Final Four.
Kansas’ biggest threats in the Midwest include No. 4 Purdue, No. 9 Michigan State and No. 2 Louisville for a possible regional final matchup.
The Tar Heels, who fell to Duke in the ACC tournament championship, were ranked the top team in perhaps the toughest region of the tournament. North Carolina will square off against No. 16 seed Texas Southern in the first round with No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 Seton Hall, No. 4 Butler, No. 3 UCLA and No. 2 Kentucky all posing a threat.
In the West, Gonzaga will first face No. 16 South Dakota State but may have several upstarts to deal with as they attempt to carve a path to the Final Four. No. 8 Northwestern, which made the tournament for the first time in 78 years, as well as No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 2 Arizona, No. 7 St. Mary’s and No. 3 Florida State.
The First Four squads battling for the No. 16 and No. 11 seeds and the right to play in the first round, include Mt. Saint Mary’s against New Orleans, Kansas State versus Wake Forest, Providence against USC and North Carolina Central vs. UC-Davis. Those match-ups take place Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Final Four, taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, will culminate on Saturday, April 1 and the championship game will be decided on Monday, April 3.