NCAA Tournament Gets Going With ‘First Four’ Games, Including Pair of Buzzer-Beater Heroes

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The road to the Final Four enters the NCAA tournament on Tuesday night beginning with a pair of games featuring the “First Four.”

With the NCAA expanding its tournament field to 68 games, there are now four play-in games, instead of one. Two of those First Four games will be played on Tuesday night, and the other two will be played on Wednesday night.

The new change means that there are now two No. 16 seeds up for bids, as well as two more No. 12 seeds.

Here’s a preview of Tuesday’s games.

UNC Asheville (-4) vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio, 6:30 p.m. ET
One thing to watch: The two leading scorers from both teams — UNC-Asheville’s Matt Dickey and Arkansas-Little Rock’s Solomon Bozeman — have both gotten some national attention lately for some late-game heroics. First, it was Dickey who made this incredible play, stealing an inbound pass and drilling a game-winning 3-pointer to knock off Coastal Carolina on Feb. 22. On the other hand, Bozeman saved his buzzer-beater for the conference tournament, hitting a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds to play to get Arkansas-Little Rock into the dance. The winner gets the honor of being drubbed by Pittsburgh on Thursday.

UAB (+4.5) vs. Clemson
UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio, 6:30 p.m. ET
One thing to watch: It will be interesting to see how UAB responds after many — most notably ESPN’s Jay Bilas — made it abundantly clear that they thought the Blazers should not be in the dance. There’s a good chance they come out with a chip on their shoulder trying to show they belong. Ironically, they take on Clemson, a team that likely sealed Boston College’s bubble fate by beating the Eagles by 23 in the second round of the ACC tournament.

NESN?s college basketball coverage is presented by Bodog.net.

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