March Madness has returned as the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament tips off on Thursday, March 16. This highly anticipated day on the sports calendar will feature wall-to-wall college basketball starting from around noon ET and lasting well into the night.
Once again, NCAA Tournament games will be broadcast on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV and be available to stream via March Madness Live and other services. After the games start, brackets will surely be busted in short order as the inevitable upset will occur, but everyone will be watching in anticipation to see which top seed tumbles and if this year's Cinderella makes an early appearance. Overall No. 1 seed Alabama will be in action on Thursday as will fellow top seeds Kansas and Houston. Remember, the Jayhawks also are the defending national champions.
So if you're wondering, "What NCAA Tournament games are on today?" know this: There are 16 scheduled for Thursday, March 16.
Note: All times are ET, some start times are approximate.
South Region: No. 9 West Virginia (19-14) vs. No. 8 Maryland (21-12)
12:15 p.m. on CBS — Legacy Arena at BJCC (Birmingham, Ala.)
Why You Should Watch: This year's Big Dance gets started with an interesting border battle down in Birmingham. West Virginia posted a losing record (7-11) in the Big 12, but the Mountaineers also are battle-tested and won't go down without a fight. Maryland features balanced scoring and a pretty stingy defense, although these Terrapins are a different team away from home.
South Region: No. 13 Furman (27-7) vs. No. 4 Virginia (25-7)
12:40 p.m. on truTV — Amway Center (Orlando, Fla.)
Why You Should Watch: Virginia fell to Duke in the ACC Tournament championship game despite holding the Blue Devils to just 59 points. The Cavaliers' calling card is defense, and this team knows all about the highs and lows of March Madness. Furman is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in more than 40 years (1980). The Paladins were the regular-season and tournament champions in the Southern Conference and rely on their shooting ability and limiting turnovers. Furman's preference to push the pace will be tested by UVA's patented pack line D.
South Region: No. 10 Utah State (26-8) vs. No. 7 Missouri (24-9)
1:40 p.m. on TNT — Golden 1 Center (Sacramento, Calif.)
Why You Should Watch: Utah State won seven in a row before falling to San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship game to secure an at-large berth. The Aggies are experienced and deadly from long range while Missouri also lives and dies by the 3-pointer. This game could come down to whoever has the hot hand.
West Region: No. 16 Howard (22-12) vs. No. 1 Kansas (27-7)
2 p.m. on TBS — Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Why You Should Watch: Kansas is the defending national champion and should have little problems against MEAC champion Howard. The Bison will try and push the tempo and force turnovers, but that style of play favors the bigger and more athletic Jayhawks.
South Region: No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-10) vs. No. 1 Alabama (29-5)
2:45 p.m. on CBS — Legacy Arena at BJCC (Birmingham, Ala.)
Why You Should Watch: Congratulations to Texas A&M Corpus Christi on its First Four (and first-ever NCAA Tournament) victory, but taking on No. 1 overall seed Alabama an hour away from campus is an entirely different challenge. Look for SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller and Co. to put on a show for the "home" crowd.
South Region: No. 12 Charleston (31-3) vs. No. 5 San Diego State (27-6)
3:10 p.m. on truTV — Amway Center (Orlando, Fla.)
Why You Should Watch: Don't let the seeding fool you, Charleston is not your typical mid-major squad. The Cougars push the tempo, shoot a lot of 3-pointers, and crash the glass. It's a formidable combination — as long their shots are falling. San Diego State is a team that relies on defense, making this an interesting matchup of playing styles. The Aztecs enter this game with wins in 10 of their last 11 games, including a victory over fellow Big Dance participant Utah State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship game. This is one of those 12 vs. 5 games that will have everyone's attention.
South Region: No. 15 Princeton (21-8) vs. No. 2 Arizona (28-6)
4:10 p.m. on TNT — Golden 1 Center (Sacramento, Calif.)
Why You Should Watch: Ivy League champion Princeton is a bit of a mystery given the Tigers' lightweight schedule. They are led by forward Tosan Evbuomwan, who will need to have a monster game for Princeton to have any shot of an upset against a much deeper Arizona team. The Wildcats can light up a scoreboard and have turned things around after a late-season slump, taking the Pac-12 Tournament with a 61-59 victory over fellow No. 2 seed UCLA.
West Region: No. 9 Illinois (20-12) vs. No. 8 Arkansas (20-13)
4:30 p.m. on TBS — Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Why You Should Watch: Illinois has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde team to this point, and the Fighting Illini enter this game in a bit of a funk. Arkansas gets after teams on the defensive end, which is necessary since the Razorbacks have struggled to hit their own shots from both the field and the free-throw line. This game may not look all that pretty, but all that matters is surviving and advancing.
Midwest Region: No. 9 Auburn (20-12) vs. No. 8 Iowa (19-13)
6:50 p.m. on TNT — Legacy Arena at BJCC (Birmingham, Ala.)
Why You Should Watch: Another 8 vs. 9 matchup featuring the Big Ten and SEC, this is a classic matchup of styles. Iowa is efficient on offense, led by potential first-round NBA draft pick Kris Murray. Auburn has struggled to find the right formula on offense but has fared much better on the other end. If the Hawkeyes get hot, this one could turn into a rout, although the Tigers are capable of winning more than one game if can find their stroke.
East Region: No. 12 Oral Roberts (30-4) vs. No. 5 Duke (26-8)
7:10 p.m. on CBS — Amway Center (Orlando, Fla.)
Why You Should Watch: No one has forgotten Oral Roberts' Sweet 16 run two years ago, and guard Max Abmas is back looking to produce some more March magic. The Golden Eagles can't be overlooked, but they also drew a red-hot Duke team that has won nine in a row including an impressive three-game stretch in the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils are incredibly young but immensely talented and playing their best basketball of the season.
Midwest Region: No. 15 Colgate (26-8) vs. No. 2 Texas (26-8)
7:25 p.m. on TBS — Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Why You Should Watch: Colgate can shoot the ball, but the Raiders really need their shots to fall to have any shot of beating a quality team. That could be a problem against a Texas squad that averages 78 points per game and is coming off of a rout of No. 1 seed Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament championship game.
West Region: No. 10 Boise State (24-9) vs. No. 7 Northwestern (21-11)
7:35 p.m. on truTV — Golden 1 Center (Sacramento, Calif.)
Why You Should Watch: Northwestern is making just its second NCAA Tournament appearance ever (2017) after a strong showing (12-8) in Big Ten play. The Wildcats get it done on defense, especially when it comes to forcing turnovers. Boise State also does a good job on D and features more scoring balance than Northwestern. The Wildcats are the feel-good story, but the Broncos want to make some history of their own by earning their first NCAA Tournament victory.
Midwest Region: No. 16 Northern Kentucky (22-12) vs. No. 1 Houston (31-3)
9:20 p.m. on TNT — Legacy Arena at BJCC (Birmingham, Ala.)
Why You Should Watch: The health of star guard Marcus Sasser (groin) looms large as Houston is a team many believe is capable of cutting down the nets. But without Sasser, the Cougars lost to Memphis in the AAC Tournament championship game. Those concerns aside, Houston should have little trouble against a Northern Kentucky team that's not very big and could struggle to score against the Cougars' suffocating defense.
East Region: No. 13 Louisiana (26-7) vs. No. 4 Tennessee (23-10)
9:40 p.m. on CBS — Amway Center (Orlando, Fla.)
Why You Should Watch: Tennessee likes to wear down teams on defense, but the loss of point guard Zakai Zeigler to injury has had an impact on this team. The Volunteers are just 4-6 in their last 10 games. Louisiana is a talented team capable of fitting Cinderella's slipper although poor free-throw shooting could put an end to the Ragin' Cajuns' season.
Midwest Region: No. 10 Penn State (22-13) vs. No. 7 Texas A&M (25-9)
9:55 p.m. on TBS — Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Why You Should Watch: Penn State saved some of its best for last, finishing the regular season with a 5-1 stretch and then advancing to the Big Ten Tournament championship game before falling by just two points to Purdue (No. 1 seed in the East Region). On the other side is a Texas A&M team that figured things out in SEC play and made it all the way to the conference tournament title game before running out of steam against Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed. This is a matchup of two teams playing really well right now that are eager to prove themselves on a bigger stage.
West Region: No. 15 UNC Asheville (27-7) vs. No. 2 UCLA (29-5)
10:05 p.m. on truTV — Golden 1 Center (Sacramento, Calif.)
Why You Should Watch: UCLA is talented and experienced, as several players still remain from the Bruins' Final Four run in 2021. Even though they fell in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game to Arizona, no one would be surprised if UCLA made it all the way to Houston and ends up cutting down the nets. UNC Asheville swept the Big South regular-season and conference championships and is 18-1 in 2023. The Bulldogs are capable of pulling off an upset, but these Bruins are battle-tested and should take care of business.