The Fan’s Guide To Florida’s 2023 March Madness

Written By Aleeyah Jadavji on March 14, 2023
logo on a basketball court with words 2023 guide march madness

The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament is coming to the Sunshine State this year.

Orlando will be one of several host cities for the first two rounds of this year’s March Madness. Unfortunately, Florida sports betting is tied up in the legal system. As a result, fans can only watch from home.

The popular 68-team tournament begins tonight at 6 p.m. There are four games between lower-seeded teams to see which four advance to the field of 64.

Then, the tournament runs every weekend, culminating in the National Championship on Mon, Apr. 3. However, the games in Orlando will take place at Amway Center on Mar. 16 and 18 for select games in rounds one and two.

March Madness is a single-elimination tournament. The teams participate in a bracket format and are grouped into four regions. The winner of their respective region earns a spot in the Final Four.

The winner of the East region squares off against the South’s champion, while the Midwest takes on the West. The winners of those two games meet to see who is crowned the national champion.

Like the Super Bowl, March Madness brings out everyone’s inner gambler. It’s common practice for friends and co-workers to enter a pool and predict the outcomes of the entire March Madness bracket. The person with the most accurate submission will win.  The odds of creating a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. In other words, that’s 1 in 9.2 quintillions.

Although you can’t legally gamble on sports in Florida at the moment, PlayFL put together a guide for enthusiasts making the trip to Central Florida.

Round 1 and 2 March Madness schedule in Orlando

Four games will be played at the Amway Center during the first round. Once the teams that make it through Round 1 are determined, the television schedule for Round 2 will be released.

The other first-round sites include Birmingham, Des Moines and Sacramento.

Round 1: Thursday, Mar. 16

12:40 p.m. – Furman (13) vs. Virginia (4)
3:10 p.m. – College of Charleston (12) vs. San Diego State (5)
7:10 p.m. – Oral Roberts (12) vs. Duke (5)
9:40 p.m. – Louisiana (13) vs. Tennessee (4)

Round 2: Saturday, Mar. 18

12:10 p.m. – Teams to be determined

Two South Florida schools represent the Sunshine State

Two of the 68 teams in the field hail from the Sunshine State.

The Miami Hurricanes (25-7) came in as the 20th national seed, and Florida Atlantic was the 33rd. Consequently, Miami received is the no. 5 seed in the Midwest region. On the other hand, the squad from Boca Raton earned the no. 9 seed in the East region. N

  1. Miami will face Drake in the first round on Friday, Mar. 17 at 7:15 p.m. on TBS.
  2. Florida Atlantic will face Memphis at 9:15 p.m. on the same day on TNT.

Everything you need to know about Amway Center

If you’re flying into Orlando Airport (MCO), the arena is 8 miles away. Flying into and out of and Orlando Sanford (SFB) airport will require an 18.5-mile trek to the Amway Center.

If you’re driving, the Amway Center is located in Downtown Orlando. You can access the GEICO garage from SR-408 as well as the I-4. You can purchase parking passes via Ticketmaster or at the Amway Center Box Office by 5 p.m. the day before the event. The City of Orlando also has parking available around the stadium ranging from $10 to $20.

If you don’t want to worry about parking, SunRail and LYMMO are both public transit options that can take you to the arena. Rideshare options such as Lyft and Uber are also popular.

Where to stay near the stadium

Many will be coming in from out of town, and accommodations are quickly filling up. Downtown hotels are the most convenient option because of their proximity to the arena.

Here are some convenient hotel options to consider:

  • AC Hotel Orlando Downtown
  • Aloft Orlando Downtown
  • Grand Bohemian Hotel
  • Marriott Orlando Downtown
  • Embassy Suites Orlando Downtown
  • Crowne Plaza

A wide selection of food and drinks at Amway Center

If you’re looking for some dining options and maybe even a drink or two before or after the game, many options are available. Even if you aren’t able to attend the game, many of these establishments, if not all, will be showing games throughout the big tournament.

Here are the available dining options at Amway Center:

  • Orlando Table
  • Orlando Market
  • Jernigan’s
  • Big Storm Brewing Co.
  • Fields Ultimate Lounge
  • Sky Lounge
  • The ULTRA Club
  • O3 Bar
  • Bud Light Baseline Bar
Photo by AP / Paul Sancya
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Aleeyah Jadavji

Aleeyah hails from Toronto, Ontario in Canada, and has worked predominantly in the poker industry since 2015. From writing articles to interviewing big winners and live reporting on poker's biggest stages, she's seen it all. Aleeyah loves to cook and create content to showcase her passion for food and travel. She also loves sriracha and doesn't trust anyone that believes it's not a top-tier condiment.

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