By Eric Umphrey
The Times 

March Madness is here again

NCAA Men’s Tournament local teams and times


March 18, 2021

Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Oregon, and Oregon State were all selected to the NCAA Division I tournament this year. Due to COVID-19, the entire tournament will be played in Indiana across multiple locations in the state. If a team chooses not to participate or has an outbreak, there is a 48-hour window to name another team to take its place. Once the tournament begins, there will not be any replacements, and if any team cannot play for medical reasons, they will forfeit the game, and their opponent will advance to the next round. As long as five players on a team are healthy and available, a team is eligible to play in the tournament.

Gonzaga went 26-0 this season and is the overall top seed in the tournament. As a result, they will get to play the winner of a Thursday play-in game between Appalachian State (17-11) and Norfolk State (16-7). If you are interested, the play-in game will be on TruTV at 5:30 pm Thursday, March 18th. Gonzaga’s game will be on Saturday, March 20th at 6:20 pm on CBS. Gonzaga has been the top-ranked team in the country all season and will try to be the first undefeated national champion since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

The Eastern Washington Eagles (16-7) enter the tournament as a #14 seed and have a difficult draw against a #3 Kansas (20-8) team that always seems to make this tournament. This game takes place on Saturday the 20th at 1:15 pm on TBS. Kansas withdrew from the Big 12 tournament due to players testing positive for COVID-19. Teams must produce seven consecutive days of negative test results to play. It is unknown whether the Kansas Jayhawks will be at full strength when they face the Eagles. The Eagles are also coming into the tournament on a hot streak, winning fifteen of their last eighteen games to close out the regular season.

Oregon (20-6) is a #7 seed and will face #10 VCU (19-7) at 6:57 pm on TNT this Saturday, the 20th. The Ducks had the best record in the PAC-12 conference this year. You can’t help but wonder whether two losses to Oregon State, once at home in the regular season and once in the conference semifinals, didn’t cause Oregon to drop from a #4 or #5 seed down to the seventh seed. This is a team that is finally healthy and could go deep into the tournament.

Oregon State (17-12) comes into the tournament as a #12 seed and will face #5 Tennessee (18-8) at 1:30 pm this Friday the 19th on TNT. Oregon State got into the NCAA tournament by winning the PAC-12 tournament. It was the first time the Beavers have won the PAC-12 tournament. Since teams were only allowed to play games inside their conference, it’s hard to know how formidable an opponent Tennessee will be. However, winning the conference tournament and making the NCAA tournament is quite an accomplishment for a team that was picked to finish last in the PAC-12 at the start of the season.


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