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NCAA Bracket 2011: First Four Start Today

NCAA Bracket Season 2011 has just begun in offices and Facebook groups across the country, but the new First Four format means the NCAA Tournament starts—today, when Arkansas-Little Rock and NC Asheville tip off at 5:40. UAB and Clemson will keep things going at 8:10, meaning that truTV watchers will be without several hours of reality-based crime drama. The First Four's Last Two go on Wednesday, with UT-San Antonio and Alabama State opening the night and USC and VCU concluding it.


That's a lot of extra work for two 16 seeds, a 12 seed, and an 11 seed, but nobody's ever suggested the NCAA didn't work hard to print TV-revenue money. Texas-San Antonio and Alabama State are playing for the opportunity to take on number-one-in-the-tournament Ohio State; UNC Asheville or Arkansas-Little Rock will get the chance to lose to Pitt. USC and VCU are just out of luck—Missouri got their 11th seed to themselves, but they have to share a room. UAB and Clemson are the real winners here; the winner of their matchup will have a chance to be on TV when the announcers make their latest proclamation about the terrible luck of the fifth seed in past tournaments.