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Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | November 15, 2021

2021-22 college basketball schedule: NCAA tournament selections, conference tournament dates

The men's NCAA tournament field of 68, predicted before opening night

We've compiled (almost) every important date for the 2021-22 men's and women's college basketball seasons, from the first day of regular-season games to the Final Four, and listed them all in one place.

Here are the important dates you need to know for the college basketball season.

Nov. 9, 2021 – The first day of games this season

According to Ken Pomeroy, three percent of the 2021-22 men's basketball schedule was played on  opening night, with more than 120 games involving DI men's basketball teams occurring concurrently.

Nov. 22, 2021 – The start of the Maui Invitational

One of college basketball's most anticipated regular-season events is the Maui Invitational, which kicks off on Monday, Nov. 22 with four first-round matchups. Click or tap here to view the complete bracket and schedule.

Nov. 23, 2021 – Preseason No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA face off in rematch

Odds are you don't need much of a refresher from last season's men's basketball Final Four, when then-undefeated Gonzaga advanced past a surging UCLA squad thanks to Jalen Suggs' historic buzzer-beater.

In the preseason AP poll, the Bulldogs and Bruins were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and each team affirmed its preseason standing by beating a top-five opponent — Texas and Villanova, respectively — in the opening weekend of the season.

The two schools will meet in Las Vegas as part of the Empire Classic.

Nov. 29, 2021 – The start of the men's ACC/Big Ten Challenge

The 23rd annual men's basketball ACC/Big Ten Challenge starts on a Monday night, with Notre Dame at Illinois and Iowa at Virginia.

Dec. 1, 2021 – The start of the women's ACC/Big Ten Challenge

The 14th annual women's basketball ACC/Big Ten Challenge kicks off on Wednesday, Dec. 1, with six games: North Carolina at Minnesota, Nebraska at Wake Forest, Ohio State at Syracuse, Georgia Tech at Purdue, Rutgers at Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech at Wisconsin.

MORE: 2022 NCAA women's basketball tournament predictions, made in the preseason

Dec. 1, 2021 – The start of the women's Big 12/SEC Challenge

The eighth annual Big 12/SEC Challenge will kick off on Dec. 1. The SEC holds a 2-1-4 advantage over the Big 12 in the series, which has finished in a tie on four occasions.

Jan. 27, 2022 – Preseason No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 UConn face off

The top two teams in the preseason women's basketball AP poll will meet in late January in Columbia, South Carolina, in a high-profile, non-conference matchup amid conference play. Last season, the Huskies defeated the Gamecocks 63-59 in overtime in Storrs. UConn's Paige Bueckers, who was named the AP National Player of the Year, played all 45 minutes and scored almost half of the Huskies' points, with a game-high 31.

Jan. 29, 2022 – The 2022 men's basketball Big 12/SEC Challenge

The ninth annual men's basketball Big 12/SEC Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29, with 10 matchups between the two conferences. Big 12 teams are 44-35 in the Challenge, with a 4-2-2 series advantage over the SEC.

March 13, 2022 – NCAA men's basketball tournament selections

Known as Selection Sunday, the date of this season's NCAA men's basketball tournament selections is March 13, when 68 teams will qualify for the Big Dance.

COMPLETE SCHEDULE: The 2021-22 NCAA men's basketball tournament schedule

March 14, 2022 – NCAA women's basketball tournament selections

On the second Monday in March, the NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket will be revealed.

March 15-16, 2022 – The First Four in the men's basketball tournament

Held annually in Dayton, Ohio, the NCAA men's basketball starts with the First Four, which features a pair of games on both a Tuesday and Wednesday night. In the 2021 NCAA Tournament, UCLA started its tournament run as a No. 11 seed in the First Four before advancing to the Final Four.

There's a history of First Four participants advancing past the first round of the NCAA tournament, so when it comes time to fill out your NCAA tournament bracket, considering picking a team from the First Four to win at least one game in the round of 64.

April 3, 2022 – The NCAA women's basketball national championship

This season's women's basketball national champion will be crowned in Minneapolis.

April 4, 2022 – The NCAA men's basketball national championship

This season's men's basketball national champion will be crowned in New Orleans.

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