NCAA Tournament 2016: NCAA Clears Up First Four Confusion


With March Madness just about a month away, the NCAA decided it would simplify the terminology for the weekend of games.

According to ESPN, the changes are as follows:

The First Four will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15-16 at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

The first and second rounds follow directly afterward when the field shrinks to 64 teams. These games will be played Thursday through Sunday, March 17-20 in Providence, De Moines, Raleigh, Denver, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Spokane.

The NCAA made this distinction because of the confusion surround the First Four last year, and whether those games were or were not part of the first round, thus giving the second round the appearance of being the third round.

"The Thursday-Friday games will be known as first and second rounds, so there's no more, quote-unquote, third round," NCAA spokesman David Worlock told ESPN. "So Thursday and Friday is the round of 64, Saturday and Sunday is the round of 32, and then obviously the Sweet 16 and Final Four hasn't been changed."

Additionally, the NCAA is looking forward to seeing its pace-of-play rule changes go into effect for college basketball's biggest event.

"The pace of the game is better and scoring is up 8 percent and there are 6 percent more possessions and the games are a little shorter," Selection Committee chairman Joe Castiglione said in a news release. "Last season there were 30 teams that averaged 75 points per game. This season there are 139 scoring at that rate and that's significant. The changes have truly improved the game and that was our goal."

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