THE TALON

March Madness in February?

Conor Coleman, Sports Section Editor

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March Madness is heating up early this season.  For the first time ever, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee will offer teams and fans an in-season look at the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship bracket. NCAA Men’s Basketball Chair Mark Hollis will be in studio for the reveal of the nation’s top 16 seeds, identifying the top-four teams in each region as they stand on Feb. 11. Leading off the show, the bracket with the Committee’s top 16 seeds as of Feb. 11 will be revealed.  Hollis, along with host Greg Gumbel and analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis, will discuss the selection and seeding process as well as the reasoning behind the Committee’s first-ever in-season bracket preview.

This selection is very similar to the College Football Playoff selections leading up to the release of the final four football teams. The top 16 seeds released on Saturday are not final, but instead a look at how the rankings would stand if the tournament started today. Twenty-nine days following the Committee’s bracket preview, the official NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship field of 68 will be announced exclusively on CBS on Sunday, March 12.

You may be wondering why this projection is any different than ESPN Bracketology Predictions and CBS bracket predictions? ESPN Bracketology and CBS bracket predictions are strictly guessing and predicting based on how teams are doing during the season. This weekend, the 16 seeds that are released are actually selected by the NCAA Basketball Selection Committee. These are the people who decide how the bracket will stand every year. The people selecting these 16 teams actually have a say in how the bracket will stand, and are not just people who predict the layout of the bracket for a living.

It will be interesting to see if this early release of the top 16 seeds will help someone correctly guess the perfect bracket, even if it is 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9.2 quintillion).

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