The final four at-large teams and final four automatic qualifiers in the newly minted 68-team NCAA men's basketball tournament field will meet for the right to enter the traditional 64-team draw, tournament selection committee chairman Dan Guerrero announced Monday.
The "First Four" will be played either the Tuesday or Wednesday after Selection Sunday. The winners of the four games will advance to what will now be called the "second round" on either Thursday or Friday. The newly named third round -- with 16 games -- will be Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the tournament -- regional semifinals (Sweet 16) and regional finals (Elite Eight) -- will remain as they have been, as will the Final Four, which is set for Houston in 2011.
The games will be televised on TruTv (formerly CourtTV), which is available in 93 million homes, said NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen, who manages the NCAA tournament. CBS, Turner, TBS and TruTV are in their first year of a $10.8 billion, 14-year television agreement. ESPN had carried the tournament's opening-round game in previous years.
Dayton, which had been the host site for the opening-round game, is the likely destination for the games but there could be other sites looked at for future First Four games beyond 2011, Guerrero said. When the winners would play in the second round is still to be determined but one aspect is certain: If teams meet on Tuesday they would feed into a Thursday format, and the Wednesday winners would play on Friday if the First Four is split into two days.http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=5374116&campaign=rss&source=twitter&ex_cid=Twitter_espn_5374116