And here … we … go.

NCAA Tournament Round of 64 begins today with 16 games

The First Four finished up last night when UC Davis notched their first NCAA tournament victory with a 67-63 win over NC Central (earning a date with No. 1 seed Kansas on Friday) and USC overcame a 17-point deficit to somehow top Providence 75-71 (and set up a first-round matchup with No. 6 SMU).

And now, it’s the best time of the year: The first day of the Round of 64. We’ve got 32 games over the next 48 hours, starting at 12:15 today. Here’s Thursday’s schedule:

View the interactive bracket | Print the bracket

(All times ET)

• 12:15 — (5) Notre Dame vs. (12) Princeton (CBS) WATCH LIVE
• 12:40 — (5) Virginia vs. (12) UNC-Wilmington (truTV) WATCH LIVE
• 1:30 — (4) Butler vs. (13) Winthrop (TNT) WATCH LIVE
• 2:00 — (1) Gonzaga vs. (16) S. Dakota St. (TBS) WATCH LIVE
• 2:45 — (4) West Virginia vs. (13) Bucknell (CBS) WATCH LIVE
• 3:10 — (4) Florida vs. (13) ETSU (truTV) WATCH LIVE
• 4:00 — (5) Minnesota vs. (12) MTSU (TNT) WATCH LIVE
• 4:30 — (8) Northwestern vs. (9) Vanderbilt (TBS) WATCH LIVE
• 6:50 — (6) Maryland vs. (11) Xavier (TNT) WATCH LIVE
• 7:10 — (1) Villanova vs. (16) Mt. St Mary's (CBS) WATCH LIVE
• 7:20 — (7) St. Mary's (CA) vs. (10) VCU (TBS) WATCH LIVE
• 7:27 — (4) Purdue vs. (13) Vermont (truTV) WATCH LIVE
• 9:20 — (3) FSU vs. (14) Florida Gulf Coast (TNT) WATCH LIVE
• 9:40 — (8) Wisconsin vs. (9) Virginia Tech (CBS) WATCH LIVE
• 9:50 — (2) Arizona vs. (15) North Dakota (TBS) WATCH LIVE
• 9:57 — (5) Iowa State vs. (12) Nevada (truTV) WATCH LIVE

If that schedule doesn’t get you all sorts of excited, 1) please see a doctor, and 2) we’ve got a detailed explanation for you:

Why the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament are the absolute best

I mean, seriously, this could just say “see schedule above,” but we’ll try to convince you nonetheless.

On the eve of the greatest 48 hours in sports, NCAA.com’s Joe Boozell broke down why these next two days are so, so fun.

Reading material before the Round of 64 tips off

You've only got a few more peaceful hours before the madness truly begins, but we've got a few pieces of in-depth analysis you should be sure to check out before then:

• Every single first-round game analyzed
• Every region dissected
• 2017 NCAA tournament field by the numbers
• Every seed ranked from 68 to 1
• Players to watch in the East | South | West | Midwest
• 10 takeaways from the 2017 NCAA tournament bracket

The NIT’s first round wrapped up Wednesday

No. 7 Belmont pulled off the upset of the night, taking down No. 2 Georgia 78-69.

View the full NIT bracket, the rest of the tournament scores, and take a look at the second round TV schedule here.

Brackets close at noon, so here are a few final tips at the buzzer

Sure, your favorite team may have entered the NCAA tournament after winning their conference tournament. They’re on a roll that won’t stop until Phoenix, right? Maybe not. In fact, only one of the last five national champions won their conference tournament. So, does conference tournament success mean anything for March Madness success?

Last year, the bracket that stayed perfect the longest survived 25 games without an incorrect pick. In 2015, we saw a bracket go 34 straight games before being busted — the longest verified bracket ever. Bracket tip: you’re probably not going to pick a perfect bracket.

Over the past six years, we’ve had millions of bracket entries, but only six outright winners. What do they all have in common? For starters, they picked 22+ games correctly in the first round but, more importantly, they all picked the correct participants and winner of the championship game. Here are more lessons from past winners.

Start your brackets | More bracket tips | Madness Matchup Tool

Mark your calendar

Round of 32 begins: March 18
Sweet 16 begins: March 23
Elite Eight begins: March 25
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3

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