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NCAAM: Let the games begin

Basketball

The GIST: March Madness action has already begun on the men’s side. No. 16 Texas Southern and No. 12 Indiana won last night’s “First Four” games, and there are two more on deck tonight before the 64-team action gets underway tomorrow. Here’s your complete guide to all of the, well, madness.

March 16, 2022
ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES
ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: March Madness action has already begun on the men’s side. No. 16 Texas Southern and No. 12 Indiana won last night’s “First Four” games, and there are two more on deck tonight before the 64-team action gets underway tomorrow. Here’s your complete guide to all of the, well, madness.

The top teams: Even after a year of unprecedented chaos, preseason favorite Gonzaga remains the team to beat, grabbing their second straight No. 1 overall seed. Rounding out the top seeds are Arizona (on a six-game winning streak), red-hot Kansas and defending champs Baylor, who have notably struggled of late with injuries to key players.

  • Other teams expected to have a real chance at the title include perennial powerhouse No. 2 Kentucky, No. 2 Auburn (who posted a 19-game win streak this season) and No. 3 Tennessee, fresh off their first SEC title win in 43 years.

The dark horses: That said, they don’t call it March Madness for nothing. Squads that could crash the party include No. 8 UNC (especially after upsetting rival No. 2 Duke in their regular-season finale), No. 4 UCLA (who made a run to last year’s Final Four) and No. 11 Virginia Tech (who just notched their first-ever ACC title win). Bracket makers, beware.

Players to watch: This year’s names to know include projected No. 1 NBA draft pick Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, No. 3 Purdue’s clutch king Jaden Ivey and No. 6 Colorado State’s David “unicorn” Roddy. Let’s fly.