basketball-men-d1 flag | March 31, 2017

Morning Madness: Friday, March 31

  The stage is set for the Final Four.

PHOENIX -- The teams are in town. The fans are beginning to trickle in. North Carolina's Roy Williams has made his way to the Valley of the Sun, twang and all. As has South Carolina's Frank Martin in all his down-home dapperness.

Representing the West, Oregon has rolled into this desert city to finalize preparations for this weekend's showdown. And, yes, Gonzaga makes it a fabulous Final Four.

Let's tip off this baby, shall we?

First, here's the schedule for Saturday’s semifinal games

6:09 ET — (1) Gonzaga vs. (7) South Carolina (CBS)

8:49 ET — (1) North Carolina vs. (3) Oregon (CBS)

Everything you need to know about: North Carolina | GonzagaOregon | South Carolina 

Wait, what about Friday?

Oh yeah. Before we get to the actual playing of, you know, real games, we have one more day of veteran coaches meeting with the masses of media in town and young men living out the times of their lives ... after meeting, first, with the masses of media in town.

Other business at hand: The basketball writers association will award the Oscar Robertson Trophy Player of the Year. Teams will practice. And talk to the media. And the Reese's College All-Star Game, featuring some of the nation's top seniors, tips off in the afternoon (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network) at University of Phoenix Stadium.

One-and-dones? Puh-leeeze

Speaking of seniors, this Final Four has plenty. Every team here has some grizzled upperclassmen who know their way through a tough game or 100. Oregon's Dylan Ennis, for one, is 25 years old and in his sixth season of college basketball. (A couple of transfers and a redshirt year for an injury, to answer your question.)'s Mike Lopresti made the Final Four rounds on Thursday to talk to the old heads and see what a difference a little experience can make.

Somebody has to win your bracket game

Still looking at your brackets? Well, wonderful. We're really happy for you. Really.

Most of us have long since used ours for a little game of trash hoops. (We were lousy at that, too.) But if you're still in the running for bragging rights, count yourself among the elite. And if you picked all four Final Four teams correctly -- well, count yourself among the top .0026 percent. That's how it worked in the Capital One Bracket Challenge Game.

If you're still in a bracket state of mind ...

View the updated bracket | Check your bracket

ICYMI, other college hoops news

Gonzaga's Mark Few and Kansas' Frank Mason III have won the Associated Press coach (that'd be Few) and player (that's Mason) of the year awards.

Mason was also the only unanimous pick to the AP All-America team.

The AP -- these guys were busy Thursday -- also released a ranking of their top 100 teams. Ever. Based on more than 1,100 polls taken since 1949. You'll recognize the names on top.

5 men's college basketball records that can fall this season

We're a few weeks into the 2019-20 men's basketball season, which is a good time to look at which records might be broken before the nets are cut down in March. A few we found are recent and a few, like Bobby Hurley's assist record, have stood for more than 25 years. Here are five that have a chance of falling this season.

2019 Thanksgiving basketball tournament's best games

Here come all the late November tournaments, from Maui to Myrtle Beach to a ballroom in the Bahamas. This is when we begin to find out if the early-season numbers are real or mirages. These are the matchups we would like to see.

DII basketball showcase: Schedule, times, scores for the 2019-20 season

NCAA Division II announced 28 regular-season men’s and women’s basketball games that will be highlighted on ESPN3 or NCAA social media as part of an effort to promote the division on several platforms throughout the academic year.

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