On a more-normal year, Selection Sunday is a nationally-televised event that formally announces the field of 68 NCAA teams that will participate in the college basketball’s biggest event. As you all know, that event is known as March Madness.
This year is a little different because of the global pandemic that’s impacting and all sporting events, but the good news is that the NCAA Men’s college basketball tournament is on schedule.
Selection Sunday is March 14, 2021 (Men’s)
If all goes well with this year’s Men’s conference tournaments – where the winners will be automatically reserve a spot in the field of 68 — then the Selection Sunday will be held immediately after the completion of those conference tournaments on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
The nationally-televised Selection Sunday show will be on CBS and start at 6PM Eastern Time in 2021.
For the 2021 women’s tournament, their 64-team bracket will be filled the next day on their selection event on Monday, March 15, 2021. The women’s selection show is also nationally televised so you can tune into ESPN that day at 7 p.m. ET.
No March Madness without Selection Sunday
Obviously, March Madness can’t begin and brackets cannot be filled until all the teams have been revealed on the annual event called “Selection Sunday”. Selection Sunday is a huge event there’s a show to announce the teams. “The Selection Show” is broadcast nationally on CBS and on ESPN and streamed live on NCAA.com.
Not only that, but television camera crews from both networks travel to all of colleges around the country to capture the teams’ reactions the moment they hear that their team has been seeded and that they have a chance to play in the “Big Dance”.
Once all the teams have been chosen, seeded and the printable brackets are ready to be actually printable, the “First Four” round will play that Tuesday and Wednesday to see which of those two teams will advance to the Round of 64. Then the first round will commence four days after Selection Sunday; on that Thursday.
Selection Sunday History (since 2007)
Here’s the last several Selection Sunday dates from the last twelve years:
Is Selection Sunday Always So Far Into March?
Apparently it has been. At least according to the past several years.
For example, in 2017, the day Selection Sunday fell was nearly halfway through the month — on March 12th, 2017. that’s almost two weeks into March before the nation found out the 68 college teams that would comprise the the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament.
Selection Sunday coming in so late does makes sense when you look at the NCAA schedule of games and tournaments. After the NCAA regular season finishes up on March 5th comes the the dozens of conference tournaments eating up the second week of March. Then when all of those conference tournaments have determined a winner, this is typically the time when the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee (say that five times fast) holds their event.
From March Madness to April Champions
The assumption is that March Madness takes place within the month of March, but history has shown that the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament has always stretched into the month of April. In fact, the most-important game that determines the March Madness champion is actually played in early April.
That’s no different this season this season with the NCAA basketball title falling on Monday, April 5th in Indiana while the Women’s National Championship game is scheduled for April 4th, 2021 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.