The four best days of the sports calendar arrived.
From Thursday afternoon through Sunday night, CBS and Turner Sports will televise 48 NCAA Men’s Tournament games. Opening day is not without its intrigue, as the tournament’s top seed overall, Alabama, begins its embattled campaign amid what is sure to be a raucous atmosphere in Birmingham. Fellow No. 1 Kansas is also in action as the Jayhawks begin their quest for back-to-back titles, while tournament favorite Houston launches a run of its own.
Here’s a look at Day One’s game list as we announce March Madness (all times ET).
THURSDAY MORNING / AFTERNOON
12:15 p.m. — No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 West Virginia (CBS)
12:40 p.m. — No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Furman (truTV)
1:40 p.m. — No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Utah State (TNT)
2 p.m. — No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Howard (TBS)
2:45 p.m. — No. 1 Alabama vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi (CBS)
3:10 p.m. — No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 12 College of Charleston (truTV)
4:10 p.m. — No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 Princeton (TNT)
4:30 p.m. — No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Illinois (TBS)
You should see: Two of the few future NBA lottery picks to be played in this year’s NCAA tournament are among Arkansas’ starting five. Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black will try to take the Razorbacks past the always-erratic Illinois and set up a potential second-round clash with Kansas. How did Arkansas lose 13 games this season with NBA talent sprinkled across its roster? A big reason is that the pieces don’t quite fit together. The Razorbacks don’t have enough shooters to space out the court, making a half-court offense difficult.
6:50 p.m. — No. 8 Iowa vs. No. 9 Auburn (TNT)
7:10 p.m. — No. 5 Duke vs. No. 12 Oral Roberts (CBS)
7:25 p.m. — No. 2 Texas vs. No. 15 Colgate (TBS)
7:35 p.m. — No. 7 Northwest vs. No. 10 Boise State (truTV)
9:20 p.m. — No. 1 Houston vs. No. 16 Northern Kentucky (TNT)
9:40 p.m. — No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Louisiana (CBS)
9:55 p.m. — No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Penn State (TBS)
10:05 p.m. — No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 UNC Asheville (truTV)
You should see: Duke-Oral Roberts isn’t just the most anticipated game in this window. It could be the star game of the first round. An Oral Roberts team that is much better than the No. 15 seed that put together an impressive Sweet 16 run two years ago will target a talent-laden Duke team that is peaking in early March. Max Abmas is back and even more lethal attacking screens without the ball. His supporting cast is even stronger this year, headlined by 7-foot-5 pick-and-pop specialist Connor Vanover.