Three winter sports kick off their NCAA national championships this week
The GIST: It’s not just basketball that’s bringing the bedlam — three other winter sports kick off their national championships this week, and we have everything you need to know before the trophy-hoisting begins.
🏊 Men’s swimming & diving: The women’s natty wrapped up Saturday, and now it’s the men’s turn in the fish tank in the ground. Their tournament’s structure is similar to the gals’ contest, with 235 swimmers and 35 divers invited to compete starting at 12 p.m. ET today. They don’t hold a candle to the new Queen of Swimming, but the fellas are still fun to watch.
- Pac-12 champ No. 1 Arizona State, led by sophomore French phenom Léon Marchand, is the overwhelming favorite. But reigning champ No. 2 Cal has the experience to go the extra meter — almost all their swimmers have been to the natty before.
🤺 Fencing: En garde! Tomorrow, 144 women’s and men’s collegiate fencers will attempt their best Jack Sparrow impressions as they start their three-day natty. After a round-robin stage across the six weapons, the top four competitors in each advance to a semifinal, then the top two from that round face off for the national title. (Almost) too much touché.
- Notre Dame runs a verified fencing dynasty — the Fighting Irish have won four of the last five ’ships. But Columbia and Princeton, like the Irish, qualified the maximum 12 fencers, which means the trophy is well within reach for all three.
🏒 Men’s hockey: Just four days after the Wisconsin women were crowned national champs, the men are Regional round–ready. Unlike the women’s tournament’s 11 teams, the men’s single-elimination bracket allows for 16 natty chasers — and no one has a first-round bye. Drama from the get-go.
- The puck drops on the regional semis tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET, with the winners advancing to this weekend’s regional finals. Those who survive will skate to the peak of college hockey, the Frozen Four.