HOUSTON — The Pitt Panthers and Texas A&M Corpus Christi became the first two teams to win an NCAA Tournament game this season on Tuesday night, giving them each the opportunity now to take on Iowa State and Alabama, respectively.
The majority of games will get underway Thursday and Friday, with action going all month until the Final Four in early April.
While the first few weeks of the tournament is when the madness truly gets going, the ultimate goal is always to advance into the Final Four with the hopes of winning two more games and getting crowned champion.
Below is a look at each NCAA Tournament region favorites, according to the oddsmakers at FanDuel Sportsbook, and analysis on how it all might shake out this month.
Let the madness begin!
Subscribe to the daily Locked on College Basketball podcast, free and available wherever you get your podcasts.
West Region: Odds to advance
Kansas almost certainly wanted that second one seed, allowing them to play in the Midwest Region, but instead they head out west into a stacked bracket.
The Jayhawks will have to get through a two-seeded UCLA team that is without Jaylen Clark, but who ran through the Pac-12 this year and was on the cusp of earning a one seed.
They also have a dangerous Gonzaga team as the three seed, a team boasting the number one scoring offense in the country led by Drew Timme.
And that's assuming they beat UConn in the Sweet 16, which will not be easy. The Huskies are the best four seed in the field and present a huge challenge for Bill Self's squad.
Midest Region: Odds to advance
Texas A&M +1000
The big story in the Midwest is the health of Marcus Sasser, Houston's lead guard and an All-American first teamer. Sasser injured his groin against Cincinnati in the AAC semifinal, and he did not play in the championship game which resulted in a loss to Memphis.
If Houston is missing Sasser, the odds of winning the region and advancing to the Final 4 drop considerably - which is good news for the Texas Longhorns as the two seed in this region.
Texas will have to advance past either Texas A&M or Penn State in the second round, could face a dangerous Xavier team even without star center Zach Freemantle.
Indiana and Miami round out another solid region - although one that is likely going to be won by a team from the state of Texas.
South Region: Odds to advance
The Crimson Tide earned the number one overall seed, and they have a very solid path to playing in the Final 4 and potentially for a national championship. Arizona is a formidable opponent as the two seed, although they struggle on the defensive end of the floor and have received inconsistent play from their backcourt.
Baylor has the opposite problem, with an elite trio of guards in LJ Cryer, Adam Flagler, and Keyonte George but little help on the block.
Creighton is a dark horse as a six seed in this region, boasting a balanced team with a healthy Ryan Kalkbrenner down low and Ryan Nembhard running the show.
East Region: Odds to advance
Purdue is the weakest one seed in the field, despite spending most of the year ranked number one overall and boasting the national player of the year frontrunner in Zach Edey.
The Boilermakers issues are in the backcourt, and teams like Marquette and Tennessee could easily overtake them if they even advance past Memphis in the second round, or a suddenly hot Duke team in the Sweet 16.
Tennessee is without star point guard Zakai Zeigler, making an already subpar offense even more inept. Meanwhile Marquette has issues on the defensive end of the floor - making this a region more likely to end up won by a team outside of the top four seeds than any others. Will it be the five seeded Blue Devils? Or even the six seeded Kentucky Wildcats?
National Championship Odds (per FanDuel)
Saint Mary's +4500
Texas A&M +5500
Iowa State +6000
Michigan State +6500
Kansas State +6500
Miami FL +7500
San Diego State +7500
West Virginia +7500