(RNN) - It is estimated that more than $12 million will be wagered on the NCAA men's basketball tournament this year. That's more than what was gambled on the Super Bowl.
Get your pencils out, because the Monday after Selection Sunday invites all sorts of speculation among the media and your friends about who was left out, who will be the David to which Goliath, and what team be this year's Cinderella story.
The NCAA pulled out all the stops this year with its plans to air every game on four TV channels. Tru TV, TBS, TNT, and CBS will broadcast all the games at slightly staggered tip-off times to avoid the games ending at the same time and viewers missing out on pivotal, game-ending action.
Round 1 of the tournament begins Tuesday with two games, and then two more games Wednesday. The second round will be March 17 and 18; and Round 3 is March 19 and 20.
The semifinals, or Sweet 16, will be played March 24 and 25; regional finals, or the Elite 8, will be March 26 and 27. The Final Four games will be held April 2, with the national championship following Monday, April 4.
The bracket is divided up into four divisions: East, West, Southwest and Southeast. There are 16 teams in each division ranked by strength, with the No. 1 seed being the strongest all the way down to No. 16.
This year's No. 1 seeds are Ohio State, Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh.
So the big question is, who got snubbed?
If you're a fan of Virginia Tech, you're probably crying foul. The team beat No. 1 seed Duke University on live TV.
Colorado was denied a bid even though its track record against top-50 ranked teams was excellent. The team swept Kansas State, who will be participating in the tournament as a No. 5 seed in the Southeast division.
"It's shocking and disappointing that we didn't get in the tournament," Colorado coach Tad Boyle told Huffingtonpost.com. "I feel bad for our five seniors."
For the fourth straight year, the Hokies ended up on the outside looking in despite a strong run in the ACC tournament and boasting one of the toughest schedules in the country.
"What I'd like to know is if there's ever been a team that's won nine games in the ACC and played the non-conference schedule that we played and beat a No. 1 seed and still didn't get in," Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenburg told godanriver.com.
The East division boasts many regular season powerhouses, such as Syracuse and North Carolina, but it's Ohio State carrying the No. 1 seed and considered by many the favorite to win it all.
"I have a ton of faith in Syracuse," Sports Radio 1490/1640 The Team host Tommy Domenico said. "Teams don't have time to practice beating their 2-3 matchup zone defense once the tournament gets under way."
North Carolina enters the tournament after being blown out by Duke in the ACC championship game as a No. 2 seed, but carries the coaching experience of Roy Williams to still be in the top eight best teams in the tournament.
The Tar Heels will be heavily favored over No. 15 seed Long Island University, but that doesn't have the LIU Blackbirds flying for safety. LIU did win the Northeast Conference and finished the season with a 27-5 record.
"We'll go out there and try to upset everybody and prove people wrong," Coach Jim Ferry told The New York Post.
The East will display many great second round games, with Princeton taking its basketball IQ and back door cuts up against a young Kentucky team that just won the SEC championship. The Wildcats could still be susceptible to an upset against a clever Princeton team.
The intriguing match-up of Washington and Georgia will be one to watch with the Bulldogs trying to control the pace like they did all year against their SEC foes. The Washington Huskies will be looking to run and gun to wear out Georgia, and many have said Washington has gelled as a team at the right time to surprise many teams in the tourney.
Be sure to tune into the guard-heavy match-up of George Mason and Villanova, as well.
In the West, Duke and Texas stand tall as favorites, while No. 2 seed San Diego State looks to be the best-least-known-ranked-team to go all the way.
Memphis is coming off a three-game winning streak to win the C-USA championship and will be looking for respect as they take on Arizona.
"I have both my sleeper teams in the West with Penn State beating San Diego State, and Duke being beaten by Tennessee," Domenico said.
Many brackets will live and die by the Western division after Duke's blowout victory over North Carolina in the ACC championship game. Others don't think the Blue Devils have the post-game that will allow them to go deep into the tournament.
"It doesn't matter where we end up," Duke sophomore Mason Plumlee told ESPN. "One seed, two seed, three seed, we'll be ready to play."
Across the bracket in the Southeast, Pittsburgh and Florida were awarded with the top two spots. BYU and sharp shooter Jimmer Fredette hope to make a deep run into the tournament despite losing the team's leading rebounder and scorer Brandon Davies to a suspension.
Many analysts peg this division as the weakest but most physical. Others say that this division has the strongest No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in Florida and BYU.
"We are really excited about being in the NCAA Tournament," Florida coach Billy Donovan told gatorcountry.com. "We look forward to playing in Tampa, and we will have a lot to get prepared for in a short amount of time."
The Southwest Conference features teams with plenty of leadership and one team returning an injured player just in time to make a championship run.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas has the Kansas Jayhawks cutting down the nets in April, noting their depth is rivaled by no one in the tournament.
Many believe that the Jayhawks have the easiest path to the Final Four with the team's first game coming against Boston University and then either UNLV or Illinois, which, on paper, should be an easy win.
This has put Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, who also graduated from Kansas, in quite a predicament.
"Everybody knows that I'm a Kansas guy," Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce told nesn.com. "BU's season's going to be over next week."
Georgetown received some much needed good news after limping into the tournament. Chris Wright was cleared to play after recovering from a broken left hand he suffered Feb. 23. The Hoyas didn't win a game without Wright and averaged a mere 53 points.
"I'm good. I can dribble, shoot, run," Wright told CBS Sports. "I have a high tolerance for pain. If someone hits my hand, I'll be all right."
March should prove to be one full of buzzer beaters, heart break and Cinderella teams doing what nobody thought they could.
"With the Big East being represented by 11 teams, the matchup possibilities are wild," Domenico said. "It's a college basketball fan's favorite time of the year."
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