We’re going to get there. It’s going to happen. There’s going to be a 2021 NCAA men’s basketball Tournament, I promise you.
It all starts Sunday evening. That’s when, like our forefathers did before us, we will gather in front of the television set to watch the CBS crew tell us who is in, who is out, and whomst is playing whomst.
Per ancient tradition — one that has not been enjoyed by our civilization in more than 700 days — we will see 68 names flash on the screen, immediately setting off a series of hot takes, criticisms, and banter. You know you want to be part of the fun.
For the uninitiated, here are a few mid-major-centric storylines to watch:
- How many teams does the Mountain West get in? Boise State’s chances took a huge hit when the Broncos lost to Nevada in the conference quarterfinals. Does that leave the conference with only three bids (San Diego State, Utah State, Colorado State) or not even that?
- Will Saint Louis benefit from COVID-19 outbreaks? Saint Louis is probably on the outside of the bubble and with no more games left on its schedule, can do nothing about it. But there’s still hope. If Virginia, Kansas, or someone else is forced to withdraw, the committee will have to fill that spot with somebody...
- What will they do with the Valley? Loyola University Chicago is in. We know that much. The MVC champions, however, will be insanely tough to seed with great computer numbers and not much substance to their gaudy win total. Then there’s Drake, which is squarely on the bubble and in the same predicament.
- Who are the First Four Out? As mentioned above, we are probably going to need replacement teams this year. Unlike in previous seasons, the committee will have four teams — the first four at-larges left out of the field — on standby in case anyone needs to withdraw. So, if Saint Louis, Drake, Utah State, or maybe a surprise mid-major isn’t in the initial field, it’s not over yet.
OK, you ready? Here’s how to watch:
Time: Sunday, March 14, 6 p.m. ET
Stream: March Madness Live