The Road to the Final Four® in Houston starts in Columbus on March 17. Eight teams come to Ohio's capital city with dreams of a championship run. Get to know the schools and squads playing at Nationwide Arena during the First and Second Rounds of NCAA Men's March Madness. Head here for game times and more details

Columbus is also hosting the First and Second Round of NCAA Women's March Madness. Get details on each team on our blog.


No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers

  • Big Ten
  • West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Player to Watch: Zach Edey (#15). A 7’4” center, Edey is hard to miss. The junior was named 2022-23 B1G Player of the Year and a unanimous All-B1G First Team selection.
  • Fast Facts: Purdue has made at least the Sweet Sixteen of the annual tournament in four of the last five editions of the annual competition. This year, Purdue won both the regular season and B1G Tournament championships for the firsts time in the same season.
  • Notable alums: John Wooden, Glenn Robinson, Matt Painter, E’Twaun Moore, Brad Miller


No. 2 Marquette Golden Eagles

  • Big East
  • Milwaukee, Wisc.
  • Player to Watch: Tyler Kolek (#11). The sophomore guard made the first team All-Big East Team and is second in the nation in assists per game with 7.9.
  • Fast Facts: The No. 2 seed is the highest seed ever for the Golden Eagles. Freshman Sean Jones is a Gahanna Lincoln alum and was OHSAA DI player of the year in 2021-22. Head coach Shaka Smart leads Marquette, a coach who’s leading his third team into the NCAA Tournament, following stints at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Texas.
  • Notable alums: Dwyane Wade, Doc Rivers, Steve Novak and Jae Crowder


No. 7 Michigan State Spartans

  • Big Ten
  • East Lansing, Michigan
  • Player to Watch: Joey Hauser (#10). Hauser is second in scoring (14.2) and first in rebounding (6.9) per game for the Spartans this season. The forward also has five double-doubles this season for Michigan State.
  • Fast Facts: Head coach Tom Izzo celebrates his 25th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament this year, a record for any coach in NCAA men’s basketball history.  
  • Notable alums: Magic Johnson, Scott Skiles, Draymond Green and Jason Richardson


No. 8 Memphis Tigers

  • American Athletic Conference
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Player to Watch: Kendric Davis (#3). The senior guard was a unanimous All-AAC First Team selection this year, leading not only Memphis but the entire AAC with 22.1 points per game and 5.6 assists per game.
  • Fast Facts: Former NBA superstar Penny Hardaway coaches Memphis, currently in his fourth season leading the Tigers. Memphis is an automatic qualifier after beating the Houston Cougars in the AAC Tournament title game on Sunday. 
  • Notable alums: Penny Hardaway, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Lorenzen Wright


No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls

  • Conference USA
  • Boca Raton, Florida
  • Player to Watch: Alijah Martin (#15). As a sophomore, Martin made an impact on the Owls this season, averaging 12.6 points per game, second best on Florida Atlantic. Martin scored 30 points for the Owls in the Conference USA title game to secure a spot in the March Madness tournament.
  • Fast Facts: Florida Atlantic is a relatively new basketball program, just starting collegiate play in the 1988-89 season. This season is only the second time Florida has punched their ticket into the NCAA Tournament.
  • Notable alums: No NBA players have come out of Florida Atlantic, but they tout former WNBA MVP Yolanda Griffith and a group of 23 current and former NFL players


No. 10 USC Trojans

  • Pac-12
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Player to Watch: Tre White (#22). White doesn’t lead USC in scoring or rebounding, but in his first year, the guard has shown that the future is bright for White and the Trojans. In 28 starts, White averages 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. Although USC exited the Pac-12 conference tournament early, White led all Trojans with 16 points in the narrow defeat.
  • Fast Facts: USC enters the tournament as an at-large bid, following their defeat to the Arizona State Sun Devils in the conference tournament. This year is the fourth in a row for the Trojans who hope to make it back to the later stages of the tournament. In 2021, USC made it all the way to the Elite Eight, the closest the team’s been to their last Final Four appearance in 1954.
  • Notable alums: Demar Derozan, Gus Williams, Bill Sharman and Evan Mobley


No. 15 Vermont Catamounts

  • America East
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Player to Watch: Ryan Davis (#35). For the second season in a row, Davis dominated the America East Conference. Davis averaged 17.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in the 22-23 season, down slightly from his 18.5 and 6.9 totals last season.
  • Fast Facts: Vermont won the America East Tournament this season in dominant fashion, winning their three games by an average of 20.6 points per game. In 2005, Vermont made history by knocking off No. 3 Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Catamounts’ only NCAA First Round win in their eight appearances.
  • Notable alums: Anthony Lamb, Eddie Benton, Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine.


No. 16 Texas Southern Tigers

  • Southwestern Athletic Conference
  • Houston, Texas
  • Player to Watch: PJ Henry (#3). Coming up strong for the Tigers over the SWAC postseason was Henry. The senior from Memphis, Tennessee scored 56 points across three games, scoring 19 points in the championship game win and 26 against Florida A&M in the tournament semifinal. Henry is strong from beyond the arc, leading Texas with two made three-point shots per game.
  • Fast Facts: Texas Southern is no stranger to winning in the SWAC, but this season’s run in the conference tournament was special. The Tigers entered the tournament as an eight-seed, beating the No. 1 seeded Alcorn State. Then, in the championship game, beat the regular season co-champions, Grambling State University, to win Texas’ third conference title in a row, and seventh since 2014.
  • Notable alums: Woody Sauldsberry, Bennie Swain and Alonzo Bradley.


No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights

  • Northeast Conference
  • Hackensack, New Jersey
  • Player to Watch: Ryan Davis (#35). For the second season in a row, Davis dominated the America East Conference. Davis averaged 17.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in the 22-23 season, down slightly from his 18.5 and 6.9 totals last season.
  • Fast Facts: After finishing last season with a 4-22 record, the Knights made the NCAA tournament this season for the first time in the school’s history. FDU made it to the Northeast title game, losing to Merrimack College. However, Merrimack wasn’t eligible to play due to their movement between NCAA tiers. Instead, FDU makes their seventh appearance in the tournament. FDU has one win in those seven editions of March Madness, winning a First Four game against Prairie View A&M in 2019.
  • Notable alums: All three alums didn’t make it into the NBA, but each were drafted. Marcus Gaither, Ken Webb and George Glasgow.