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NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Fast Facts

Here’s some background information about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

April 5, 2021 – The Baylor Bears defeat the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. This is Baylor’s first men’s NCAA basketball title.

March 12, 2020 – The NCAA announces it is canceling the Division I men’s basketball tournament due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus. The tournament was scheduled to begin on March 17 and culminate with the national championship game on April 6.

Selection Process

68 teams are invited to compete.
– 32 teams receive automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments.
– 36 teams receive an at-large bid from the NCAA Selection Committee.

The 10-member selection committee, comprised of athletic directors and conference commissioners, is responsible for selecting the 36 at-large teams, seeding (or ranking) all 68 teams and placing them in one of four regions within the bracket. The committee’s field of 68 is revealed on the Sunday before the four first-round games, appropriately dubbed “Selection Sunday.”

The selection process is based on many factors including win-loss record, strength of schedule and NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) data.

Other Facts

The single-elimination tournament is nicknamed “March Madness” or “The Big Dance.”

The “First Four” are the four opening round games. Two games match number 16 seeds against each other, and the other two games feature the last four at-large teams selected into the tournament. The winners advance to the next round, the round of 64.

Each of the four regions consists of 16 teams that are seeded No. 1 to No. 16. In the first round, teams are paired according to seed. The No. 1 seed faces No. 16, No. 2 faces No. 15, No. 3 faces No. 14, and so forth. The winning teams advance to the second round.

The 16 teams that advance beyond their first and second-round games are referred to as the “Sweet Sixteen.” The remaining eight teams are called the “Elite Eight,” and the last four teams are the “Final Four.”

An underdog or lower-seeded team that advances throughout the tournament is often referred to as a “Cinderella” team.

UCLA has the most NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament wins with 11.


1939 – The first tournament is held, and eight teams compete. Oregon defeats Ohio State 46-33.

1954 – The tournament final is broadcast live nationwide for the first time.

1991 – CBS begins broadcasting all games live.

1999 – CBS obtains an 11-year contract through 2013 worth $6 billion to broadcast the tournament.

2005 – College Sports Television begins a two-year agreement with CBS and the NCAA for exclusive video streaming rights on for out-of-market game coverage. CSTV pays CBS $3 million for the rights and expects to be profitable in the first year.

April 22, 2010 – In addition to expanding the men’s tournament basketball field to 68 teams from 65, the NCAA announces a 14-year, $10.8 billion television rights deal with CBS and Turner Sports. The deal, which goes into effect in 2011, marks the first time that each game will be televised nationally.

April 12, 2016 – The NCAA announces an eight-year extension of its TV deal with Turner Broadcasting and CBS Sports. The extension to the current deal — for a combined total rights fee of $8.8 billion — will keep the big game at Turner and CBS until 2032.

February 20, 2018 – The NCAA Infraction Appeal Committee announces they will uphold penalties against the Louisville Cardinals Men’s Basketball team for their serious violations of NCAA rules. The Committee panel found that they “acted unethically….by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not cooperate with the investigation.” The penalties include vacation of every win from 2011 to 2015, including the 2013 national championship and the 2012 Final Four appearance.

August 22, 2018 – The NCAA announces a new ranking tool, the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool). It replaces RPI, or the ranking performance index, as the method which will be used to choose which teams will be selected to participate in the tournament.

March 11, 2020 – The NCAA announces that March Madness will go on, but fans won’t be allowed to attend because of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Only essential staff members and family members can attend, the NCAA says in its statement, which comes just hours after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, known as Covid-19, a pandemic.

March 12, 2020 – NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors cancel the men’s Division I basketball tournament, and other winter and spring NCAA championships, due to concern over the novel coronavirus. The men’s Division I championship was played every year since its inception in 1939.

January 4, 2021 – The NCAA announces that the entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be played in the state of Indiana, with the majority of the 67 scheduled games to be played in Indianapolis.

CNN Newsource


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