March Madness

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament kicks off this week on CBS and Turner Sports’ networks, with the First Four games taking place on truTV Tuesday and Wednesday night and the first round beginning Thursday across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. Here are the matchups, tip-off times, and announcing pairings through the conclusion of the first round Friday, as per the CBS/Turner Sports release:

NCAA First Four – Tuesday, March 13

(16) LIU Brooklyn vs. (16) Radford (truTV, 6:40 pm ET ): Spero Dedes / Steve Smith / Len Elmore / Ros Gold-Onwude
(11) St. Bonaventure vs. (11) UCLA (truTV, after first game): Dedes / Smith / Elmore // Gold-Onwude

NCAA First Four – Wednesday, March 14
(16) N.C. Central vs. (16) Texas Southern (truTV, 6:40 p.m. ET): Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Allie LaForce
(11) Arizona St. vs. (11) Syracuse (truTV, after first game): Eagle / Spanarkel // LaForce

First Round Games – Thursday Afternoon, March 15 (Noon-6 p.m. ET)

(10) Oklahoma vs. (7) Rhode Island (CBS, 12:15 p.m. ET): Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner // Dana Jacobson
(14) Wright St. vs. (3) Tennessee (truTV, 12:40 p.m. ET): Spero Dedes / Steve Smith / Len Elmore // Ros Gold-Onwude
(13) UNCG vs. (4) Gonzaga (TNT, 1:30 p.m. ET): Brian Anderson / Chris Webber // Lisa Byington
(16) Penn vs. (1) Kansas (TBS, 2 p.m. ET):  Brad Nessler / Steve Lavin // Evan Washburn
(15) Iona vs. (2) Duke (CBS, after first game): Harlan / Miller / Bonner // Jacobson
(11) Loyola (IL) vs. (6) Miami (truTv, after first game): Dedes / Smith / Elmore // Gold-Onwude
(12) South Dakota St. vs. (5) Ohio St. (TNT, after first game): Anderson / Webber // Byington
(9) N.C. State vs. (8) Seton Hall (TBS, after first game):  Nessler / Lavin // Washburn

First Round Games – Thursday Evening, March 15 (6:30 p.m. ET-Midnight)

(16) LIU Brooklyn/Radford vs. (1) Villanova (TNT, 6:50 p.m. ET): Harlan / Miller / Bonner // Jacobson
(12) Davidson vs. (5) Kentucky (CBS, 7:10 p.m. ET): Anderson / Webber // Byington
(11) San Diego St. vs. (6) Houston (TBS, 7:20 p.m. ET): Nessler / Lavin // Washburn
(14) Stephen F. Austin vs. (3) Texas Tech (truTV, 7:27 p.m. ET): Dedes / Smith / Elmore // Gold-Onwude
(9) Alabama vs. (8) Virginia Tech (TNT, after first game) Harlan / Miller / Bonner // Jacobson
(13) Buffalo vs. (4) Arizona (CBS, after first game): Anderson / Webber // Byington
(14) Montana vs. (3) Michigan (TBS, after first game): Nessler / Lavin // Washburn
(11) St. Bonaventure/UCLA vs. (6) Florida (truTV, after first game): Dedes / Smith / Elmore // Gold-Onwude

First Round Games – Friday Afternoon, March 16 (Noon-6 p.m. ET)

(10) Providence vs. (7) Texas A&M (CBS, 12:15 p.m. ET): Jim Nantz / Grant Hill / Bill Raftery // Tracy Wolfson
(15) Cal St. Fullerton vs. (2) Purdue (truTV, 12:40 p.m. ET): Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Allie LaForce
(13) Marshall vs. (4) Wichita St. (TNT, 1:30 p.m. ET): Carter Blackburn / Debbie Antonelli // John Schriffen
(15) Georgia St. vs. (2) Cincinnati (TBS, 2 p.m. ET): Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas // Jamie Erdahl
(15) Lipscomb vs. (2) North Carolina (CBS, after first game) Nantz / Hill / Raftery // Wolfson
(10) Butler vs. (7) Arkansas (truTV, after first game): Eagle / Spanarkel // LaForce
(12) Murray St. vs. (5) West Virginia (TNT, after first game): Blackburn / Antonelli // Schriffen
(10) Texas vs. (7) Nevada (TBS, after first game): Catalon / Lappas // Erdahl

First Round Games – Friday Evening, March 16 (6:30 PM, ET-Midnight)

(9) Kansas St. vs. (8) Creighton (TNT, 6:50 p.m. ET): Nantz / Hill / Raftery // Wolfson
(14) Bucknell vs. (3) Michigan St. (CBS, 7:10 p.m. ET): Eagle / Spanarkel // LaForce
(16) N.C. Central/Texas Southern vs. (1) Xavier (TBS, 7:20 p.m. ET): Catalon / Lappas // Erdahl
(13) Charleston vs. (4) Auburn (truTV, 7:27 p.m. ET): Blackburn / Antonelli // Schriffen
(16) UMBC vs. (1) Virginia (TNT, after first game): Nantz / Hill / Raftery // Wolfson
(11) Arizona St./Syracuse vs. (6) TCU (CBS, after first game): Eagle / Spanarkel // LaForce
(9) Florida St. vs. (8) Missouri (TBS, after first game): Catalon / Lappas // Erdahl
(12) New Mexico St. vs. (5) Clemson (truTV, after first game): Blackburn / Antonelli // Schriffen

As previously noted, one of the biggest changes here is Verne Lundquist stepping away and Brad Nessler stepping in, with Ian Eagle also receiving some prominent assignments (which will eventually include a regional final) in the wake of Lundquist’s exit. It will be interesting to see how Nessler does in that role. Beyond that, it’s notable to see Ros Gold-Onwude with some big reporting assignments here (she previously covered the Warriors for CSN/NBC Sports Bay Area, plus the Olympics for NBC, before joining Turner Sports this fall for NBA on TNT and NBA TV work).

And there are some intriguing games here, especially perhaps around the bubble teams many were skeptical of. The likes of Syracuse and Oklahoma in particular have had many questioning if they were the most deserving options out there. So those games might get a little extra attention. We’ll see how it all plays out. As for the continuation of the tournament, tip-off times and announcer pairings for Saturday’s second-round games will be released after Thursday night’s games, while information for Sunday’s games will follow Friday’s contests.

[CBS/Turner Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.