(CBS Minnesota/CBS Local)- The NCAA Tournament gets underway tonight, when the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights and Prairie View A&M Panthers tip off the First Four in Dayton, Ohio at 6:40 p.m. Eastern Time on truTV. Once the tournament kicks off, the storylines that will guide us through the next month begin.
Tracy Wolfson, CBS Sports veteran sideline reporter, will have a big role in telling those stories. She's part of the tournament's lead broadcast team, alongside Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery. We caught up with Wolfson at CBS and Turner Sports NCAA Tournament Media Day last week and asked her what her favorite storylines were heading into this year's tournament. The big thing that has her pumped for this year's coverage? The sheer number of strong teams that are in the field.
"That is what excites me the most. There are so many really good teams out there," said Wolfson. "Not only the blue bloods either, even a team like Gonzaga, that continuously makes it to the tournament and is usually a high seed, but people keep saying they don't deserve it because they play in the WCC. You know what? I think this Gonzaga team actually deserves it this year."
Mark Few's Bulldogs were selected as one of the field's number-one seeds, playing in the West region. The last time that the 'Zags were playing in the West, with games in Salt Lake City and potential regional final matchups in Anaheim was in 2017, when they made it all the way to the title game before coming up short against North Carolina.
The top teams certainly get plenty of billing, but there are a few players that Wolfson is particularly keen on watching this March. Duke's Zion Williamson is one, of course, but a pair of elite guards that Wolfson is excited to watch will actually meet in the first round in that same West region.
"To see Ja Morant out there, everybody is going to be really excited to watch him. Then there's Marquette and Markus Howard and how he is producing," said Wolfson. "Then you have the teams like a Michigan, that is struggling a bit right now but made a run last year. Can they make a run again? And of course, you have Zion Williamson and everyone wants to talk about Duke and what North Carolina is doing. Virginia, can they come over the hump after what happened to them last year?"
Twelve-seed Murray State battles 5-seed Marquette on Thursday afternoon, following the conclusion of the Vermont-Florida State matchup. Wolfson's crew begins its tournament coverage on Friday afternoon, March 22nd at 12:40 p.m. Eastern time, when 8-seed Ole Miss takes on 9-seed Oklahoma, which means she'll likely get the chance to watch some of that Howard vs. Morant battle while preparing for the next day's game.
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