For the eight teams competing in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday and Wednesday, the "First Four" is every bit as compelling as the Final Four that will take place in Atlanta a few weeks later.
Even if your office pool doesn't notice, the 2013 NCAA Tournament schedule kicks off on Tuesday night rather than Thursday afternoon. Ever since the NCAA expanded the field to 68 teams for the 2011 tournament, the true first round has consisted of the so-called "play-in games." A run by VCU from the First Four to the Final Four in 2011 made it clear that Dayton can be the launching pad for March success.
Here are the eight teams aiming to survive the First Four and advance far enough to bust a few brackets:
Tuesday, March 19
6:40 p.m. EST: Liberty (15-20) vs. North Carolina A&T (19-16)
Liberty and North Carolina A&T are vying for the chance to face No. 1 overall seed Louisville as the No. 16 seed in the Midwest Region.
9:10 p.m. EST: Middle Tennessee State (28-5) vs. Saint Mary's (27-6)
The winner of the First Four game between Middle Tennessee State and Saint Mary's will face No. 6 Memphis as the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region.
Wednesday, March 20
6:40 p.m. EST: LIU Brooklyn (20-13) vs. James Madison (20-14)
The winner between LIU Brooklyn and James Madison will remain in Dayton to face No. 1 seed Indiana in the East Region.
9:10 p.m. EST: Boise State (21-10) vs. La Salle (21-9)
Boise State and La Salle will square off in Dayton to earn a trip to Kansas City to face No. 4 Kansas State as the No. 13 seed in the West Region.
Will you be watching? Can any of these teams make a deep run?
CLICK HERE for a printable 2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket