INDIANAPOLIS, July 12 (UPI) -- Eight teams will play early in the opening week of the NCAA Basketball Tournament starting next year under new a format revealed by officials Monday.
The new format takes into account an expanded 68-team field and includes a "First Four" round of games early in Week 1, with the winners advancing to the second round on Thursday or Friday, the Division I Men's Basketball Committee said.
Speculation over who would participate in the early games was resolved when the committee revealed that two games will include the last four at-large teams selected to the tournament, while the other two will feature teams ranked 65 through 68 on the overall seed list.
Under the new rules, at-large teams winning their opening game will be seeded where they would normally be placed in the bracket. For instance, a game between a pair of No. 12 seeds would see the winner advancing to play a No. 5 seed.
Meanwhile, the winners of early games involving teams seeded 65 through 68 will advance to take on a No. 1-seeded team.