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How to watch the First Four

REMEMBER! The First Four is Thursday this year.

Northern Iowa v Drake Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

After a year with no NCAA Tournament, the Basketball Gods are making us wait just a little while longer. Instead of the tournament tipping off Tuesday with the First Four, as is tradition, the opening four games will all take place on Thursday instead.

Rather than two games in two nights, all on TruTV, we will get four games on Thursday night, split between TruTV and TBS. As always, the First Four will feature two games between 16 seeds and two games between the final at-large teams in the field. Here’s how to watch each game:

16 Texas Southern vs. 16 Mount St. Mary’s

5:10 p.m., TruTV, March Madness Live, Assembly Hall
Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Avery Johnson, Evan Washburn

The SWAC champions and NEC champions both had to pull some upsets to reach the NCAA Tournament. Texas Southern, the 3 seed in the SWAC, took down 2 seed Jackson State in the conference semifinals and 1 seed Prairie View A&M in the title game behind tournament MVP Michael Weathers. Weathers had 30 for the Tigers against Jackson State and had five assists in each of the first two tournament games. Mount St. Mary’s won a pair of road games to claim the NEC crown, first over top-seeded Wagner, then against 2 seed Bryant. Keep an eye on Damian Chong Qui — one of the more inspiring stories of the entire NCAA Tournament.

11 Drake vs. 11 Wichita State

6:27 p.m., TBS, March Madness Live, Mackey Arena
Brian Anderson, Jim Jackson, Allie LaForce

A mid-major from the Missouri Valley meets a former mid-major from the Missouri Valley. Drake, which started the year 18-0, comes into the game a little banged up. Point guard Roman Penn will miss the remainder of the season with a broken foot, but Shanquan Hemphill and his 14 points per game might be able to go on Thursday. The Bulldogs get a Wichita State team that many felt should not have received an at-large bid. The Shockers are ranked 74th in KenPom but do boast aa win over 2 seed Houston.

16 Appalachian State vs. 16 Norfolk State

8:40 p.m., TruTV, March Madness Live, Assembly Hall
Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Avery Johnson, Evan Washburn

Hopefully you’ve gotten over the supreme disappointment in not seeing Appalachian State matched up with 1 seed Michigan. Now that we’re past that, Dustin Kearns’ crew draws a Norfolk State team that Mid-Major Madness resident Missouri fan Greg Mitchell LOVES! He cannot get enough of those Spartans! They enter the tournament on a six-game winning streak, though they needed just two victories to capture the MEAC crown. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, won four games in four days to storm through the Sun Belt field, knocking off top teams Texas State and Georgia State along the way.

11 Michigan State vs. 11 UCLA

9:57 p.m., TBS, March Madness Live, Mackey Arena
Brian Anderson, Jim Jackson, Allie LaForce

The lone game in the First Four to not feature a mid-major school is instead a clash of traditional titans from a pair of conferences that have not won a national championship since Bill Clinton was president. You can either watch this game or get some sleep and prepare for the first full day of games on Friday.

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