March Madness | When Does The NCAA Basketball Tournament Begin And End This Year?

Written By Matt Burke | Last Updated
When does March Madness start

The anticipation is building for this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. College hoops regular seasons are winding down and conference tournaments are getting underway. Many fans and bettors are currently asking when does March Madness start this year and when does the NCAA Tournament begin? We will answer that question below and also dish out information on the many different ways you can bet on this year’s Big Dance.

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When does March Madness start?

College basketball fanatics are itching to get the Big Dance underway. So when does March Madness start this year? The tournament will officially start on Tuesday, March 19 with the First Four.

March Madness will start on Tuesday, March 19

The 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will technically start on Tuesday, March 19. For those looking to play hooky from work or school, though, you will want to wait until the first Thursday and first Friday of March Madness. Those dates are Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22 and they will each feature a full day and night of college basketball action.

Here are the key dates for when will March Madness start this year.

  • Sunday, March 17: Selection Sunday
  • Tuesday, March 19: First Four
  • Wednesday, March 20: First Four
  • Thursday, March 21: First full day of games
  • Friday, March 22: Second full day of games

For Day 1 of the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, games will start at 12:15 p.m. ET. Sixteen games will be played on the first full day of the tournament. 

There will be 16 more games played on the second full day of the tournament on Friday, March 22. The first game in that batch of games will also begin at 12:15 p.m. ET. The tipoff time of the last game for each of those first two days of basketball is set for 9:57 p.m. ET.

When does March Madness end?

This year’s NCAA Tournament will start and end a bit later than usual due to the 2024 calendar. Final Four Saturday will take place on April 6 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The National Title game will be played on Monday, April 8 in Glendale. 

You can bet on the tournament now

The Madness has not yet started but you can already bet on the winner of this year’s Big Dance. Find NCAA Tournament Title odds below. College basketball bettors can also bet on point spreads. UConn and Purdue are the betting favorites to win the championship heading into the famed basketball tournament.