NCAA Tournament to Be Cut to 64 As First Four Wraps Up With Pair of Play-In Contests


The first day of the NCAA tournament is in the books, and the field is now down to 66. Following a couple of more games on Wednesday, we’ll be down to a number college basketball fans are quite familiar with — 64.

UNC Asheville and Clemson both emerged on Tuesday as winners, although both teams went about doing so in a different way.

In the evening’s first game, UNC Asheville guard Matt Dickey hit a clutch 3-pointer with just 10 seconds to play in regulation to send it to overtime. The Bulldogs ended up prevailing in the extra session, and now they get to play Pitt on Thursday.

In the other play-in, featuring a pair of No. 12seeds, the ACC’s Clemson rolled to a relatively easy win over UAB. They’ll take on West Virginia next.

Here is a preview of Wednesday’s games, the second batch of First Four play-in games.

Alabama State (+3.5) vs. Texas-San Antonio
UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio, 5:30 p.m. ET
One thing to watch: Sometimes, records can be deceiving. While Alabama State enters the tournament at 17-17, the worst record of any team in the dance, they are one of the hottest teams in the country. In fact, their run has been pretty remarkable. The Hornets began February at 6-16, but since, have gone 11-1. If they can stay hot, they’ll earn a showdown with Ohio State.

USC (-4.5) vs. VCU
UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio, 8 p.m. ET
One thing to watch: Much like UAB the night before them, VCU has something to prove to the country on Wednesday night. Their selection to the tournament was maligned by many, after they lost to Old Dominion in the CAA conference championship. It’s not often you see a CAA team as an at-large bid, much less an 11-loss CAA team. The winner of this one moves on to take on Georgetown.

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