Results from the first four games are in the books, signaling Thursday’s start of the real race to the Final Four for blueblood programs and potential bracket-busters in the NCAA Tournament.
Along the path to Atlanta, where the champion will be crowned April 8, participating men’s basketball teams will stop in Austin (Friday-Sunday) and at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington (March 29-31) to eliminate some of the remaining 64 schools with title hopes.
Although Texas schools were shut out of this year’s field for the first time in 36 years, there are plenty of native Texans — and local storylines — to track among the remaining title contenders. In an upset-filled regular season when five teams held the top spot in the weekly polls, this also projects as the most wide-open tournament in years. Maybe decades.
To prepare you for the full-throttle start of the nation’s annual March obsession, here are a series of storylines to monitor and facts worth factoring into the equation if you want to make a last-minute tweak to your tournament ballot(s) before Thursday’s first tipoff. In honor of the Final Four, they’re broken into four categories with four items each:
Tarrant County storylines
Inside the numbers