March, it’s said, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Most people think that’s a comment on the weather, but anyone who fills out NCAA men’s college basketball tournament brackets knows that it actually refers to their dwindling chances of winning a March Madness pool. More than 50 million people participate in the annual ritual, trying to claim part of the $3 billion that Americans bet on the tourney. Instead of just joining a 2014 March Madness pool, why not attend a game and experience the thrill and excitement of unpaid athletes playing for glory, entertainment, and the financial benefit (usually) of their schools?
Below are the sites, dates, and arenas for every round of the 2014 Division I men’s college basketball tournament. To purchase tickets, you’ll need to visit the NCAA Tickets & Hospitality page; tickets aren’t available through the individual arenas.
First Four (play-in games)
Dayton, Ohio, March 18 and 19; UD Arena
Preliminary Rounds (second- and third-round games)
Buffalo, New York, March 20 and 22; First Niagara Center
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 20 and 22; BMO Harris Bradley Center
Orlando, Florida, March 20 and 22; Amway Center
Spokane, Washington, March 20 and 22; Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
Raleigh, North Carolina, March 21 and 23; PNC Arena
San Antonio, Texas, March 21 and 23; AT&T Center
San Diego, California, March 21 and 23; Viejas Arena
St. Louis, Missouri, March 21 and 23; Scottrade Center
Regionals (Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games)
West Regional: Anaheim California, March 27 and 29; Honda Center
South Regional: Memphis, Tennessee, March 27 and 29; FedExForum
Midwest Regional: Indianapolis, Indiana, March 28 and 30; Lucas Oil Stadium
East Regional: New York, New York, March 28 and 30; Madison Square Garden
Final Four and Championship Game
Arlington, Texas, April 5 and 7; AT&T Stadium
To spice things up for the Final Four in Dallas, the NCAA and various sponsors are staging the 2014 NCAA March Madness Music Festival, a series of free concerts from April 4-6 at Reunion Park. Featured performers include Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Killers, Tim McGraw, and Jason Aldean.
At this point, those folks are the only guaranteed performers at the Final Four. No heavy favorites emerged from the regular season. Kentucky and Michigan State were ranked #1 and #2 in the AP’s preseason poll; by the end of the season, they were barely in the top 25. Wichita State went undefeated in regular-season play but competes in the Missouri Valley Conference, a mid-major league. Syracuse, Arizona, and Duke all have weaknesses. Senior-laden Florida might be the best bet, but a lot of March Madness brackets will be banking on surprise Final Four sleepers this year.
Want a sure bet? Try Travel Plus, which offers 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations and rebates on travel perks that can ease the pain of seeing your March Madness brackets crumble. Which team are you picking to win it all?