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NCAA March Madness Overtime Rules

One of the best times of the year is March Madness. The college basketball tournament brings excitement, drama, chaos, upsets, and more. We have seen some great games over the years. Some have needed more than regulation and have gone into overtime. Do you know the March Madness overtime rules? Here’s everything you need to know.

NCAA College Basketball Tournament Overtime

When the score of a college basketball game is tied at the end of the second half, there is overtime to decide which team will win. In theory, teams will play overtime periods until there is a victor. Here’s a breakdown of the overtime rules for the NCAA Tournament.


Overtime is five minutes during the NCAA Division I Tourney. There is a one-minute intermission between regulation and overtime.


Coaches receive two timeouts in overtime. Teams get one 75-second timeout while the other is 30 seconds. If one team calls timeout first, it has to be the 75-second timeout. It also counts as the media timeout for the period.


Fouls don’t reset and the foul-out threshold isn’t increased. If a player has already fouled out before college basketball overtime, they cannot enter the game. The NCAA Division I Men’s Tournament has a foul limit of five. If a player gets five fouls, they have to be taken out of the game and can’t return.


Just like the beginning of the game, overtime begins with a jump ball. Teams will continue to play on the basket they used for the second half of the game.


Men’s NCAA basketball introduced replay review at the end of games. Any reviews that can occur at the end of regulation, can take place in overtime. These could be for shot clock violations and out-of-bounds deflections.

Longest Games in March Madness History

There have been some NCAA Men’s Tournament games that have reached quadruple overtime. Canisius defeated North Carolina in four overtimes back in 1965. It took four overtimes for St. Joseph’s to beat Utah in 1961 by a score of 127-120.

The most recent National Championship game that went into overtime was in 2019 between Texas Tech and Virginia. Virginia outlasted Texas Tech 85-77 in OT to win the National Title.

March Madness and the NCAA National Championship

The men’s tournament expanded to 68 teams back in 2011. There were 64 teams in the tournament from 1985-2011. The tournament begins with the First Four. Games take place across the country at different regional sites. The Final Four and National Championship games are played at the same location.

There are 32 teams in for earning an automatic bid. They had to win their conference tournament. There are 38 at-large bids for teams based on strength of schedule, record, and more that is decided by a committee.

The Division I Tournament for the men has been taking place since 1939. Oregon was the first team to win the March Madness National Title. They defeated Ohio State 46-33 in the eight-team tournament. It slowly added more teams over the years before becoming a 64-team tourney in 1985. It moved to 68 teams in 2011.

March Madness Overtime Rules FAQs

How long is overtime in the men’s basketball tournament?

Overtime is a five-minute period. Teams continue to play extra time until there is a winner.

How long is a regulation game in NCAA March Madness?

College basketball games in the regular season, conference tournaments, and NCAA tournament have two 20-minute halves.

How is possession determined in overtime?

There is a jump ball just like they use during regulation at the beginning of the game. This way each team has an equal chance of getting the ball first.