March Madness is on the verge of another huge step on the road to returning to normalcy in sports.
The 2022 NCAA Tournament will be held without many of the restrictions and policies that defined the 2021 competition, which itself was the first dose of March Madness that sports fans enjoyed since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the event outright in 2020.
This year, for example, the tournament will return to several pre-pandemic operating procedures, such as hosting First Four games over the course of two days instead of one; featuring multiple host cities for the first and second rounds and regional semis/finals (as opposed to keeping the entire tournament in a singular area); and having seemingly no capacity restrictions. Fans in attendance will still need to adhere to local and state health regulations, however.
Regardless, that return to normalcy is great news for basketball fans who have missed the experience of March Madness as much as the on-court product. While the 2021 iteration was more than welcome after missing the tournament entirely in 2020, March Madness in 2022 could represent the closest to a “normal” tournament that fans have enjoyed in several years.
And that’s not even considering the most important aspect of the tournament: the teams and players, of course. Already there are a few teams that stand out above the rest — most notably Gonzaga, which is aiming for redemption after getting blown out of the national championship game in 2021 to defending national champion Baylor.
Of course, this will also be the final NCAA Tournament with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski prowling the court, a fact that itself makes this tournament must-watch television. What other storylines and Cinderellas will reveal themselves as the tournament progresses?
The Sporting News has you covered on how to watch all of it unfold in 2022, including start and end dates, TV schedule, streaming options, venues, updated betting odds and more.
March Madness bracket 2022
This section will be updated upon the reveal of the final 2022 NCAA Tournament bracket. Until then, here are Sporting News’ latest predictions for the Field of 68.
NCAA Tournament schedule 2022
- Start date: Thursday, March 15-16 (First Four)
- End date: Monday, April 4 (national championship game)
The 2022 NCAA Tournament comprises the First Four; Rounds 1 and 2; Sweet 16; Elite Eight; Final Four and national championship game. The First Four begins the Tuesday following Selection Sunday, on March 15. The national championship game will take place on April 4.
Here is the full schedule for March Madness 2022:
|First Four||March 15-16|
|Round 1||March 17-18|
|Round 2||March 19-20|
|Sweet 16||March 24-25|
|Elite Eight||March 26-27|
|Final Four||April 2|
|National championship||April 4|
When is the First Four?
The 2022 First Four games will take place over the course of two days: on Tuesday, March 15 and Wednesday, March 16. They return to their two-day format after the 2021 tournament, which saw the entirety of the round played out over the course of a day. Eight teams — the four lowest-seeded automatic and at-large bids, respectively — will play. A win in the First Four grants teams access to the tournament proper, making them part of the final 64-team field.
When is the Final Four?
The 2022 NCAA Tournament ends with the Final Four and national championship on April 2 and 4, respectively. All games will take place in Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The 2022 tournament returns to its regular operating procedure in that the regional finals will be hosted in four separate venues across the country, as opposed to the same venue (which in 2021 happened to be Lucas Oil Stadium, host of the Final Four).
How to watch March Madness games in 2022
CBS and Turner Sports stations (TBS, TNT and truTV) will continue to split broadcast duties in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, a deal that will run through 2032. The exact number of games broadcast per station and channel has yet to be determined.
TBS will broadcast the the Final Four and national championship game this year for the first time since 2018; the 2020 tournament was canceled because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and, when the tournament resumed under COVID protocols in 2021, CBS resumed control as exclusive broadcaster (despite that TBS missed out the previous year).
|First Four||TBS, truTV|
|Round 1||CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV|
|Round 2||CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV|
|Sweet 16||CBS, TBS|
|Elite Eight||CBS, TBS|
CBS and Turner Sports have yet to release their announcer pairings for the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
2022 NCAA Tournament streaming options
Every game in the 2022 NCAA Tournament can be streamed via NCAA March Madness Live; other streaming options include CBS’ streaming service, Paramount+, and Sling TV, which offers a free trial.
|First Four||NCAA March Madness Live|
|Rounds 1-2||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount+, Sling TV (free trial)|
|Sweet 16||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount+, Sling TV (free trial)|
|Elite Eight||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount+, Sling TV (free trial)|
|Final Four||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount+, Sling TV (free trial)|
|National championship||NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount+, Sling TV (free trial)|
Where is March Madness 2022?
The 2022 NCAA Tournament will once again be held across several host sites and cities as opposed to being held entirely in the state of Indiana as it was in 2021. It marks the greatest return to normalcy in the tournament since the first outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020.
The First Four will be held at UD Arena on the campus of the University of Dayton in Ohio; the first and second rounds will take place across eight cities; the Sweet 16 Elite Eight will be held across four host cities; and the Final Four and national championship game will be held in New Orleans’ Caesars Superdome.
Below is a full rundown of the sites and locations of the NCAA Tournament:
|First Four||Dayton, Ohio||UD Arena|
|Rounds 1-2||Buffalo, N.Y.||KeyBank Center|
|Fort Worth, Texas||Dickies Arena|
|Portland, Ore.||Moda Center|
|Greenville, S.C.||Bon Secours Wellness Arena|
|Pittsburgh||PPG Paints Arena|
|San Diego||Viejas Arena|
|Sweet 16/Elite Eight||San Antonio||AT&T Center|
|San Francisco||Chase Center|
|Philadelphia||Wells Fargo Center|
|Final Four||New Orleans||Caesars Superdome|
Odds to win March Madness 2022
Sports books have already singled out a handful of teams that have the highest odds to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Those begin with Gonzaga, which has never dropped below No. 5 overall in the AP Top 25 poll this season and which has six weeks atop the poll.
Below are the teams most like to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament (as of Monday, Feb. 28):
- Gonzaga (+400)
- Arizona (+750)
- Kentucky (+750)
- Purdue (+800)
- Auburn (+1000)
- Kansas (+1500)
- Duke (+1500)
- Baylor (+1800)
- Villanova (+2000)
- UCLA (+2500)
- Texas Tech (+3000)
- Illinois (+4000)
- Houston (+4000)
- Tennessee (+5000)
- Texas (+5000)
- Ohio State (+6000)
- Alabama (+6000)
- LSU (+8000)
- Providence (+8000)
- Arkansas (+8000)
Future March Madness locations, host sites
March Madness has enjoyed a seeming return to normalcy, which means future host sites for the Final Four in ensuing seasons. Below are the those locations:
|Year||City||Final Four host site|
|2024||Phoenix||State Farm Stadium|
|2026||Indianapolis||Lucas Oil Stadium|
NCAA Tournament 2022 tickets
The NCAA has yet to release COVID-19 policies for the 2022 tournament. Per a Jan. 26 report from CBS — speaking to NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt — any policies the organization comes up with would be decided in February.
“Like we did last year, we want to make sure to exercise patience and not make decisions before they’re necessary to be made,” Gavitt told CBS. “With omicron being on us and unpredictable, it didn’t make sense to make final decisions on medical protocols until we got more experience and data.”
Tickets through the NCAA are available from the First Four through the Final Four (as of Monday, Feb. 28).
More March Madness news by The Sporting News
Here are more March Madness features, courtesy of The Sporting News, until the 2022 NCAA Tournament begins:
NCAA Tournament winners
UCLA leads all men’s college basketball programs with 11 national championships, followed by blue bloods Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke.
Baylor is the last team to win the NCAA Tournament, securing its first title in program history in 2021 by beating Gonzaga, which aimed to become the first team since Bob Knight’s 1975-76 Indiana team to go undefeated.
No team claims the 2020 national championship, as it was canceled because of COVID-19.
|School||National titles||Most recent||Runner-up finishes|
|North Carolina State||2||1983|
|City College of New York||1||1950|