64-32-16-8-4-2-1. Today, 64; by April 7, there will be just one. One national champion. One shining moment, as the song says. The countdown from 64 begins today.
This is day one of two of the greatest annual event in college basketball, when all 64 teams will battle to the final buzzer. By Friday night, after 32 games, there will be 32 winners and 32 teams heading home.
It all begins at 12:20 ET, when the miracle men of Georgia, who, after going 4-12 in the SEC, earned an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament. Seeded #14, the Bulldogs tip with the #3 Xavier Musketeers.
#1 seeds in action today are UCLA and Kansas. North Carolina and Memphis begin play on Friday. For the Bruins, their foe, #16 Mississippi Valley St., presents no more a challenge than the usual practice. The Bruins are favored by a whopping 32 points. That game is scheduled to begin as the final game of the day for the West region, at 9:55 ET.
Kansas will take to the hardwood much earlier, as the opener in the Midwest, at 12:25, facing #16 Portland State. The Jayhawks, winners of the Big 12, are 22 1/2 point favorites.
I'll be blogging on and off most of the day and into the night, with highlights and analysis of key games.
Stay tuned. It's about to get serious.