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What is March Madness Guide

It’s one of the craziest times of the year. College basketball teams from across the country compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine a champion. It’s full of upsets, drama, and pure chaos. That’s why it’s called March Madness. Not familiar? Are you asking yourself, what is March Madness? Here’s a guide to the NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament

The men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments consist of 68 teams. The teams are placed in a bracket with seeds numbered 1 to 16. A number 1 seed plays a 16 seed in the first round, a 2 plays a 15, and so on.

The men’s tournament was expanded from 64 teams to 68 in 2011. It now includes a First Four round. Four teams duke it out in play-in games to advance to the first round of the tournament. The women’s NCAA Division I basketball tournament moved to 68 teams in 2022.

The NCAA Division I tournaments begin in the middle of March and run until the first few days of April. The March Madness Tournament is one of the most-watched sporting events of the year. The men’s tournament attracts the most buzz each year.

An NCAA selection committee made up of conference commissioners and athletic directors decides which teams make the NCAA tournament and have a shot to compete for a national championship.

Automatic Bids: Teams Win Their Conference Tournament

Who gets to participate in March Madness? Teams earn bids to the tournament in two ways. The first is an automatic bid for winning your conference tournament. The week before the Division I college basketball tournament begins, teams across the country compete in conference tournaments. The winner gets an invite to the big dance regardless of their record.

At-Large Bids: Based on Team’s Season Resume

The second way you can get a shot to compete for an NCAA national championship is by earning an at-large bid. This is based on a team’s resume throughout the season. The basketball committee looks at factors that include record, the strength of schedule, and more.

Teams from major conferences usually can get an invite to the tournament without winning their conference. It’s common to see the best basketball programs in the country make the tournament as an at-large bid after having a solid season. These conferences include the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big East, Pac 12, and more.

NCAA Tournament March Madness Bracket

Four regions make up the tournament bracket. Teams receive a seed numbered 1 through 16. Basketball fans across the country fill out a bracket in pools, contests, and more for prizes. Some are in search of a perfect bracket. There are zero perfect brackets in history. Too many combinations to pick. Also, the chaos of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament leads to upsets.

Top websites such as ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, and more have bracket challenges where you can compete against friends and even celebrities to win prizes.

March Madness Games and Schedule

The tournament starts with the First Four games. These take place on the Tuesday or Wednesday after the Sunday Selection Show. The First and Second rounds take place at the end of the week from Thursday to Sunday. For the 2023 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, the schedule is as follows:

First Four Games: March 14-15

First-Second Round: March 16-19

Sweet 16 and Elite 8: March 23-26

Final Four: April 1

National Championship: April 3

To win a national championship in the current tournament format, a team has to win six games in a row. If a team plays in the First Four, they would have to win seven games. No team has won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship after starting in the First Four.

The Final Four

The Final Four is usually at the beginning of April and celebrates the magical run of four teams during the tournament. It’s a major accomplishment to reach the Final Four and highly regarded. A team has to win four games to reach the Final Four.

In 2023, the Final Four takes place at NRG Stadium in Houston on April 1. North Carolina has made the most Final Fours of any program with 21. UCLA has made 18 while Duke and Kentucky have reached the Final Four 17 teams. 2022 champion Kansas has 16 Final Four appearances in school history.

The women’s 2023 Final Four takes place in Dallas, Texas on March 31.

The College Basketball Championship Game

The men’s basketball national championship game is usually in early April. Two teams that survived the tournament field battle for the title. The 2023 men’s and women’s basketball title games take place in Houston and Dallas. The men play on April 3 while the women play on April 2.

Most National Championships

Kansas won the 2022 National Championship in the men’s tournament by defeating the historic program of North Carolina. Who has the most titles in history? Here’s a look at the men’s list:

UCLA: 11

Kentucky: 8

North Carolina: 6

Duke: 5

Indian: 5

Kansas: 4

UConn: 4

For the women, South Carolina defeated powerhouse Connecticut to win the 2022 national championship. Here’s a look at the women’s programs with the most titles:

UConn: 11

Tennessee: 8

Baylor: 3

Stanford: 3

What is March Madness FAQs

Where did the term March Madness come from?

The phrase ‘March Madness’ was originally coined by Henry V. Porter, an Illinois high school official in 1939 to describe basketball. It wasn’t until Brent Musberger used the term during coverage of the 1982 NCAA tournament that it became synonymous with the event.

When does March Madness begin?

March Madness begins each year in the middle of March. For the 2023 season, it will begin on March 14 with the First Four. Selection Sunday is on March 12.

How are teams selected for a spot in the tournament?

Bids to the NCAA tournament are decided by a selection committee. The committee looks at several factors and the teams are divided into four regions.

How many teams compete in the March Madness Tournament?

68 teams are selected to compete in NCAA March Madness. Teams can earn an automatic bid by winning their conference or get an at-large bid.