Spotlight: Hoop-la

Mason Vranish

March Madness is coming, and it extends beyond the NCAA men’s college basketball finals this month. No matter what your level of basketball fandom, there’s a faceoff or two you’ll want to mark on your calendar. Here’s the game plan:

March 11
High School Championships
Budding stars statewide get a taste of the NCAA at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) men’s and women’s basketball championships March 11. Final teams play at both the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill and Reynolds Coliseum at N.C. State throughout the day; game times are 12 noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. nchsaa.org/sports/basketball

March 16 – April 3
Men’s College Championship
The frenzy of matches that inspired the phrase March Madness, the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball championship, begins with first-round games March 16 and 17. The “elite eight” remaining teams finish out the month March 25 and 26; the “final four” play April 1; and the national championship game is in Phoenix, Ariz. April 3. ncaa.com/march-madness

March 17 – April 2
Women’s College Championship
Female basketball athletes vie for the top almost simultaneously with the men’s teams: First- and second-round games in the competition for the NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball championship occur March 17 – 20. The “final four” play March 31; and the national championship game is in Dallas, Texas April 2. ncaa.com/womens-final-four

March 25
Harlem Globetrotters
Less faceoff than entertainment, the Harlem Globetrotters bring their tricks to PNC Arena March 25. These players incorporate theatrical antics and funny moves to put on a basketball-themed show, and stick around for autographs and high fives afterward. harlemglobetrotters.com