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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: March Madness Starts Today!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today is the first day of action in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament, with games tipping off at four different sites throughout the course of the afternoon and evening.

Even though the Minnesota Golden Gophers didn't make this year's field of 68, that doesn't mean that there isn't excitement to be had, as we'll be tracking all of the action right here at SB Nation Minnesota, with a particular focus on the Big Ten teams.

Speaking of which, the Big Ten gets into the action today with three of their seven tournament participants taking the court. The first team from the conference to take the floor will be the Penn State Nittany Lions, who will kick things off at 1:10 PM Central time when they take on the Temple Owls in West Regional action. You can see that game on TNT, which is Channel 245 on your DirecTV box (be sure to check your local listings for cable channel in your area).

The rest of the Big Ten action for today will come in the evening hours. At 6:27 PM Central time, TruTV (DirecTV Channel 246) will be showing the Wisconsin Badgers, as they face off in Southeast Regional action against the Belmont Bruins. The Big Ten will finish up for the day with an 8:20 Central time tip-off between the UCLA Bruins and the Michigan State Spartans, who find themselves in the opposing half of the Southeast Regional as the Wisconsin/Belmont game.

It's one of the most exciting sporting times of the year, folks, and we'll have it all for you here at SB Nation Minnesota!

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.