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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 in the United States to determine the men's college basketball national champion of the Division I level in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Played mostly during March, the tournament consists of 68 teams and was first conducted in 1939. Known for its upsets of favored teams, it has become one of the biggest annual sporting events in the US.

Quick facts: Sport, Founded, Inaugural season, Organising ...
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
Organising bodyNCAA
No. of teams64 (Tournament) 8 (First Four)
CountryUnited States
Most recent
UConn (5th title)
Most titlesUCLA (11)
TV partner(s)NCAA March Madness
CBS Sports Network (re-airs)
Galavisión (Spanish-language coverage)
Level on pyramid1

The tournament teams include champions from 32 Division I conferences 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. Teams are placed in four regions and given a seed between 1 and 16 within the region. The tournament consists of seven rounds and is conducted over three successive weeks. The first week starts with eight teams competing in the First Four, with the four winners joining 60 teams to compete in the first and second rounds. Sixteen winners advance to the second weekend to compete in the regional semifinals and finals, also known as the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, respectively, for the number of participants in the round. Four teams then advance to the third weekend for the national semifinals and national championship, collectively referred to as the Final Four. The winning team is crowned national champion, which celebrates by cutting down the nets and watching a montage of the tournament set to One Shining Moment.

The 68-team format was adopted in 2011; it had remained largely unchanged since 1985 when it expanded to 64 teams. Before then, the tournament sized varied from as little as 8 to as many as 53. The field was restricted to conference champions until at-large bids were extended in 1975 and teams were not fully seeded until 1979. In 2020, the tournament was cancelled for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic; in the subsequent season, the tournament was contested completely in the state of Indiana as a precaution.

All tournament games are broadcast by CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV under the program name NCAA March Madness. With a contract through 2032, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery pay $891 million annually for the broadcast rights. The NCAA distributes revenue to participating teams based on how far they advance, which provides significant funding for college athletics. The tournament has become part of American popular culture through bracket contests that award money and prizes for correctly predicting the outcomes of the most games. It is estimated that tens of millions of Americans, including those who do not follow regular-season college basketball or sports in general, participate in a bracket contest each year.

Thirty-seven different schools have won the tournament. UCLA has the most with 11 championships; their coach John Wooden has the most titles of any coach with 10. The University of Kentucky has eight championships, the University of North Carolina has six championships, Duke University, University of Connecticut, and Indiana University have five championships, the University of Kansas has four championships, and Villanova University has three championships. Seven programs are tied with two national championships, and 22 teams have won the national championship once.