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NCAA tournament schedule, dates, locations: Complete field, bracket

For pure drama, best wait ’til the shots start flying.

For sheer excitement, Selection Sunday belonged to Northwestern.

Though it was no surprise when that school’s name popped into the NCAA Tournament bracket, it was a reminder that, yes, this is March Madness — the time of year where anything can happen. The Wildcats, longtime losers in the Big Ten, were officially invited to the tournament for the first time in school history, and the group-hugging, selfie-taking reaction from the players when their name came up showed how much the accomplishment really meant.

You can download a complete bracket here, or see below for locations and dates for all games in the NCAA Tournament 2017.

“When I came here four years ago, it was a belief in a day like today,” said coach Chris Collins, whose team won 23 games on its way to the tournament.

Another set of Wildcats — the ones from Villanova — were given the tournament’s top overall seed. The defending champions were joined by Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga on the “1” line — a quartet that produced very little in the way of head scratching.

With the brackets set, the action begins Tuesday and Wednesday with opening-round games that will include matchups between the last at-large teams invited into the draw: No. 11 seeds Providence vs. Southern California and Kansas State vs. Wake Forest.

The Final Four is April 1 and 3 in Phoenix. Villanova, which won the title last year on a buzzer-beating jump shot by Kris Jenkins, will open its quest for back-to-back titles against the winner of an opening-round game between New Orleans and Mount Saint Mary’s.

The bracket produced more small quibbles than true blockbusters.

If there was any debate about the top, it was whether Duke really belonged as a No. 1 instead of a No. 2, which is where it ended up. The Blue Devils won four games in four nights at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, and have beaten the rival Tar Heels twice. But Mark Hollis, the chair of the selection committee, beat back that debate quickly, telling the commentators on CBS (who dragged out the bracket reveal for more than a half hour) that Duke entered the week as a No. 4 seed.

And though they kept winning over the weekend, “they got stopped on the way by teams that won both their regular-season and conference tournaments (Kentucky and Arizona) and they were never compared to teams on the No. 1 line,” Hollis said.

Teams getting left off the bubble included Syracuse and Illinois State.

All Times EDT
FIRST FOUR
At UD Arena
Dayton, Ohio
Tuesday, March 14

Mount St. Mary’s (19-15) vs. New Orleans (20-11)

Kansas State (20-13) vs. Wake Forest (19-13)

Wednesday, March 15

N.C. Central (25-8) vs. UC Davis (22-12)

Providence (20-12) vs. Southern Cal (24-9)

EAST REGIONAL
First Round
Thursday, March 16
At KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.

Villanova (31-3) vs. Mount St. Mary’s-New Orleans winner

Wisconsin (25-9) vs. Virginia Tech (22-10)

At Amway Center
Orlando, Fla.

Florida (24-8) vs. ETSU (27-7)

Virginia (22-10) vs. UNC Wilmington (29-5)

Friday, March 17
At Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, S.C.

Duke (27-8) vs. Troy (22-14)

South Carolina (22-10) vs. Marquette (19-12)

At BOK Center
Tulsa, Okla.

Baylor (25-7) vs. New Mexico State (28-5)

SMU (29-4) vs. Providence-Southern Cal winner

Second Round
Saturday, March 18
At KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.

Villanova_Mount St. Mary’s-New Orleans winner vs. Wisconsin-Virginia Tech winner

At Amway Center
Orlando, Fla.

Florida-ETSU winner vs. Virginia-UNC Wilmington winner

Sunday, March 19
At Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, S.C.

Duke-Troy winner vs. South Carolina-Marquette winner

At BOK Center
Tulsa, Okla.

Baylor-New Mexico State winner vs. SMU_Providence-Southern Cal winner

At Madison Square Garden
New York
Regional Semifinals
Friday, March 24

Villanova-Mount St. Mary’s-New Orleans_Wisconsin-Virginia Tech winner vs. Florida-ETSU_Virginia-UNC Wilmington winner

Duke-Troy_South Carolina-Marquette winner vs. Baylor-New Mexico State_SMU-Providence-Southern Cal winner

Regional Championship
Sunday, March 26

Semifinal winners

SOUTH REGIONAL
First Round
Thursday, March 16
At BMO Harris Bradley Center
Milwaukee

Butler (23-8) vs. Winthrop (26-6)

Minnesota (24-9) vs. Middle Tennessee (30-4)

Friday, March 17
At Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, S.C.

North Carolina (27-7) vs. Texas Southern (23-11)

Arkansas (25-9) vs. Seton Hall (21-11)

At Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis

Kentucky (29-5) vs. Northern Kentucky (24-10)

Dayton (24-7) vs. Wichita State (30-4)

At Golden 1 Center
Sacramento, Calif.

UCLA (29-4) vs. Kent State (22-13)

Cincinnati (29-5) vs. Kansas State-Wake Forest winner

Second Round
Saturday, March 18
At BMO Harris Bradley Center
Milwaukee

Butler-Winthrop winner vs. Minnesota-Middle Tennessee winner

Sunday, March 19
At Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, S.C.

North Carolina-Texas Southern winner vs. Arkansas-Seton Hall winner

At Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis

Kentucky-Northern Kentucky winner vs. Dayton-Wichita State winner

At Golden 1 Center
Sacramento, Calif.

UCLA-Kent State winner vs. Cincinnati_Kansas State-Wake Forest winner

At FedEx Forum
Memphis, Tenn.
Regional Semifinals
Friday, March 24

Butler-Winthrop_Minnesota-Middle Tennessee winner vs. North Carolina-Texas Southern_Arkansas-Seton Hall winner

Kentucky-Northern Kentucky_Dayton-Wichita State winner vs. UCLA-Kent State_Cincinnati-Kansas State-Wake Forest winner

Regional Championship
Sunday, March 26

Semifinal winners

MIDWEST REGIONAL
First Round
Thursday, March 16
At BMO Harris Bradley Center
Milwaukee

Purdue (25-7) vs. Vermont (29-5)

Iowa State (23-10) vs. Nevada (28-6)

Friday, March 17
At Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis

Louisville (24-8) vs. Jacksonville State (20-14)

Michigan (24-11) vs. Oklahoma State (20-12)

At BOK Center
Tulsa, Okla.

Kansas (28-4) vs. N.C. Central-UC Davis winner

Miami (21-11) vs. Michigan State (19-14)

At Golden 1 Center
Sacramento, Calif.

Oregon (29-5) vs. Iona (22-12)

Creighton (25-9) vs. Rhode Island (24-9)

Second Round
Saturday, March 18
At BMO Harris Bradley Center
Milwaukee

Purdue-Vermont winner vs. Iowa State-Nevada winner

Sunday, March 19
At Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis

Louisville-Jacksonville State winner vs. Michigan-Oklahoma State winner

At BOK Center
Tulsa, Okla.

Kansas_N.C. Central-UC Davis winner vs. Miami-Michigan State winner

At Golden 1 Center
Sacramento, Calif.

Oregon-Iona winner vs. Creighton-Rhode Island winner

At The Sprint Center
Kansas City, Mo.
Regional Semifinals
Thursday, March 23

Purdue-Vermont_Iowa State-Nevada winner vs. Kansas-N.C. Central-UC Davis_Miami-Michigan State winner

Louisville-Jacksonville State_Michigan-Oklahoma State winner vs. Oregon-Iona_Creighton-Rhode Island winner

Regional Championship
Saturday, March 25

Semifinal winners

WEST REGIONAL
First Round
Thursday, March 16
At KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.

West Virginia (26-8) vs. Bucknell (26-8)

Notre Dame (25-9) vs. Princeton (23-6)

At Amway Center
Orlando, Fla.

Florida State (25-8) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (26-7)

Maryland (24-8) vs. Xavier (21-13)

At Vivint Smart Home Arena
Salt Lake City

Gonzaga (32-1) vs. South Dakota (18-16)

Northwestern (23-11) vs. Vanderbilt (19-15)

Arizona (30-4) vs. North Dakota (22-9)

Saint Mary’s (28-4) vs. VCU (26-8)

Second Round
Saturday, March 18
At KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.

West Virginia-Bucknell winner vs. Notre Dame-Princeton winner

At Amway Center
Orlando, Fla.

Florida State-Florida Gulf Coast winner vs. Maryland-Xavier winner

At Vivint Smart Home Arena
Salt Lake City

Gonzaga-South Dakota winner vs. Northwestern-Vanderbilt winner

Arizona-North Dakota winner vs. Saint Mary’s-VCU winner

At SAP Center
San Jose, Calif.
Regional Semifinals
Thursday, March 23

Gonzaga-South Dakota_Northwestern-Vanderbilt winner vs. West Virginia-Bucknell_Notre Dame-Princeton winner

Florida State-Florida Gulf Coast_Maryland-Xavier winner vs. Arizona-North Dakota_Saint Mary’s-VCU winner

Regional Championship
Saturday, March 25

Semifinal winners

FINAL FOUR
At University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Ariz.
National Semifinals
Saturday, April 1

East champion vs. West champion

South champion vs. Midwest champion

National Championship
Monday, April 3

Semifinal winners