If you believe the NCAA, March Madness began with yesterday's First Four contests and continues through today's completion of the NCAA Tournament's new first round. But the thousands of companies who hand out NCAA Bracket blanks and the millions of people who fill them out every year seem to have a different idea—even Yahoo! won't close its tournament pick-em contest for another day. The NCAA can call it the first round all it wants, but for the people who it seeks to convert it looks like they've just added a bunch of play-in games.
UNC-Asheville's overtime win against Arkansas-Little Rock was exciting, but even great basketball failed to supplement all the truTV hyping and tournament-renaming enough to make the First Four into a March Madness staple in its first year of existence. There's still time, but right now it seems like fans are just too wedded to the existing tournament structure to deal with the changes. There's something so much grander about the flurry of round-of-64 basketball that has recently kicked off the tournament; if the NCAA knows what it's doing they'd be wise not to futz with something that works so well.