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NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament

United States top collegiate-level basketball tournament / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, branded as NCAA March Madness and commonly called March Madness, is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the United States, currently featuring 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to determine the national champion. The tournament was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the idea of Ohio State coach Harold Olsen.[1] Played mostly during March, it has become one of the most popular annual sporting events in the United States.[2]

Quick facts: Sport, Founded, Inaugural season, Owner(s), N...
NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2023 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament
Founded1939; 84 years ago (1939)
Inaugural season1939
Owner(s)Jerome Hunter
No. of teams64 (Tournament) 8 (First Four)
CountryUnited States
Most recent
Kansas (4th title)
Most titlesUCLA (11)
TV partner(s)NCAA March Madness
CBS Sports Network (re-airs)
Galavisión (Spanish-language coverage)
Level on pyramid1
Quick facts: Championships...

It has become extremely common in popular culture to predict the outcomes of each game, even among non-sports fans; it is estimated that tens of millions of Americans participate in a bracket pool contest every year. Mainstream media outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports and Fox Sports host tournaments online where contestants can enter for free. Employers have also noticed a change in the behavior of employees during this time: they have seen an increase in the number of sick days used, extended lunch breaks and even the rescheduling of conference calls to allow for more tournament watching.[3] Many handicappers and pundits also offer advice for winning their own bracket.[4][5]

The tournament teams include champions from 32 Division I conferences (which receive automatic bids), and 36 teams which are awarded at-large berths. These "at-large" teams are chosen by an NCAA selection committee, then announced in a nationally televised event dubbed Selection Sunday. The 68 teams are divided into four regions and organized into a single-elimination "bracket", which pre-determines when a team wins a game which team it will face next. Each team is "seeded", or ranked, within its region from 1 to 16. After the First Four round, the remainder of the tournament begins the third Thursday of March, and is played over the course of three weekends, at pre-selected neutral sites across the United States. Teams, seeded by rank, proceed through a single-game elimination bracket beginning with the First Four round, a first round consisting of 64 teams playing in 32 games over the course of two days, the second round consisting of the 32 remaining teams playing in 16 games that weekend, the "Sweet Sixteen" and "Elite Eight" rounds the next week and weekend, respectively, and – for the last weekend of the tournament – the "Final Four" round. The two Final Four games are played the Saturday preceding the first Sunday in April, with the championship game on Monday. These four teams, one from each region (East, South, Midwest, and West), compete in a preselected location for the national championship.

The tournament has been at least partially televised on network television since 1969.[6] Currently, the games are broadcast by CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV under the trade name NCAA March Madness. These networks paid the NCAA to broadcast the games in 2011. The contract was for 14 years and they paid $10.8 billion. However, in 2018 that contract was extended for another seven years making it valid through the year 2032. The average payment over the years comes out to be $891 million annually.[7] Since 2011, all games are available for viewing nationwide and internationally. As television coverage has grown, so too has the tournament's popularity. Currently, millions of Americans fill out a bracket,[8] attempting to correctly predict the outcome of 63 games of the tournament (not including the First Four games).

With 11 national titles, UCLA has the record for the most NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships; John Wooden coached UCLA to 10 of its 11 titles. The University of Kentucky (UK) is second, with eight national titles. The University of North Carolina (UNC) is third, with six national titles, and Duke University and Indiana University are tied for fourth with five national titles. The University of Connecticut (UConn) and the University of Kansas (KU) are tied for sixth with four national titles. Villanova University is seventh with three national titles. The University of Cincinnati, the University of Florida, University of Louisville (who have a 3rd vacated title),[lower-alpha 1] Michigan State University, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, and the University of San Francisco all have two national titles. 22 other teams have won a single national title. The tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 65 in 2001, and 68 in 2011.

Both 2020 men's and women's tournaments were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9] The 2021 tournament was subsequently played at various venues in Indiana, the first (and only) time that a tournament has been hosted in its entirety by one state.