College hoops fans, brace for a case of March Madness


Rui Hachimura

For basketball fans, the three weeks around the vernal equinox is the most wonderful time of year.

Not so much because spring is coming – nice as that may be – but because college hoops reaches its apex with “March Madness,” aka the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Beginning Tuesday, March 19, on truTV, the 68-team single-elimination tournament sees college basketball’s best squads going at it over the next 19 days and 67 games, culminating with the Final Four and National Championship game April 6 and 8 in Minneapolis. Teams and players expected to be in the title mix include Zion Williamson and Duke, Rui Hachimura and Gonzaga, De’Andre Hunter and Virginia, and PJ Washington and Kentucky.

Fans can get their tournament faces on Sunday, March 17, when CBS broadcasts the “NCAA Basketball Selection Show,” in which the seedings for the 68 teams are announced.

All games in the 2019 NCAA Tournament air on truTV, TBS, TNT and CBS.

•Get ready to say “Konnichi wa” to baseball this week, as MLB opens the regular season a little early with a pair of games in Japan.

Airing on ESPN bright and early the mornings of Wednesday and Thursday, March 20 and 21, the two-game series between the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners serves as the official starting gun for the 2019 season, as players such as Khris Davis, Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger and Matt Chapman get in their initial swings at Tokyo Dome.

This isn’t the first time Japan has hosted American baseball. In 2000, the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs opened their season at Tokyo Dome, with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays (2004), A’s and Boston Red Sox (2008), and A’s and Mariners (2012) also playing there.

And this is just the beginning of baseball on foreign soil in 2019, as the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds (April 13-14) and Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels (May 4-5) are slated to play in Monterey, Mexico, and the Yankees and Red Sox will bring their decades-old rivalry across the pond to London Stadium on June 29-30.

As for the rest of MLB, Opening Day for 2019 is Thursday, March 28, the earliest date in history in which all teams play.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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