March Madness may seem to last a little longer this year, and for good reason. Halftime? Five minutes longer than normal. Timeouts? Longer, too. And for smaller schools that don't get to play on network television, they're a lot longer than during the regular season, forcing coaches and players to adjust.

Some coaches think the added time allows them to lean more heavily on their starters because they're getting more rest. Others say it doesn't make much of a difference. Still others think the 2-and-a-half minute timeouts can destroy the momentum of a comeback.

Improved grad rates

The graduation rate disparity between African-American and white players at schools in this year's men's NCAA tournament decreased slightly after growing 10 percent over the previous three years.

An annual report by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport released yesterday shows African-American players' graduation rates increased from 59 percent to 60 percent in 2012, while white players' dropped from 91 percent to 88 percent. The racial gap was 22 percent in 2009.

The overall graduation rate for this year's tournament teams increased from 66 to 67 percent, and there was a three percent increase in teams graduating half their players.

The 68-team tournament gets started tonight in Dayton with the First Four games.