March Madness Basics – Understanding the NCAA Tournament


The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, takes place the second two weeks of March and the first week of April.  You can’t turn on a TV, radio, or even read a newspaper in the US, without being exposed to something March Madness related, and with the legalization of sports betting in the US, this years tournament will be publicized even more.
All March Madness games will be broadcast on either TBS, TNT, TruTV or CBS and you can watch a live stream of every game on March Madness Live online.

The games will begin March 19 and run through the 31st, with the Final Four and National Championship taking place in Minneapolis, MN on  April 6th and 8th respectively.

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What is March Madness?

March Madness is a term invented by the media to refer to the annual NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.  The competition itself is a single-elimination tournament of 68 teams that compete in seven rounds for the national championship. The current version of the tournament includes 68 teams that are chosen via two methods:

32 NCAA Basketball Division I conferences each get one automatic bid, which they each give to the team that wins the their individual conference tournament. Each of these conference champions qualify automatically. For the other 36 teams in the tournament, a selection committee decides which 36 teams that are not automatic qualifiers, have what it takes to earn an invitation to the tournament.  This happens on Selection Sunday, a date that falls after all conference tournament games have been played.  This year Selection Sunday will fall on March 17.

How Does The NCAA Tournament Work?

Once the field of 68 teams have been finalized, each team is assigned a seed.  On Selection Sunday, each team is also  ranked 1 through 68 by the Selection Committee.  The best team in college basketball based on regular season and conference tournament performance is ranked #1.  All teams will be ranked in order, by this criteria the best teams being higher and the poorer teams being ranked lower.  Four of the teams will be eliminated immediately in the First Four , which is a pre or  opening round of the tournament, leaving a field of 64 teams to participate in the official first round.

The 64 teams that participate in round one, are split into four regions of 16 teams each, and each team in each region is ranked 1 through 16 based on how good they are. That ranking is the team’s seed.   To reward better teams, the first-round matchups are determined by playing the top team in each region against the worse ranked team in each region,  thus for each region the #1 seed will face off against a # 16 seedThen the next highest team or # 15 seed will play against the next lowest # 2 seed, and so on.
This generally means that the #1 seeded teams have the easiest opening matchups, and as you get to the middle teams in each region they should be fairly evenly matched.

When will this year’s NCAA Tournament take place?

March Madness 2019 dates and schedule
ROUND SITE 2019 DATES
Selection Sunday N/A March 17
First Four Dayton, OH March 19-20
1st/2nd Rounds Hartford, CT March 21/23
1st/2nd Rounds Salt Lake City, UT March 21/23
1st/2nd Rounds Des Moines, IA March 21/23
1st/2nd Rounds Jacksonville, FL March 21/23
1st/2nd Rounds Tulsa, OK March 22/24
1st/2nd Rounds Columbus, OH March 22/24
1st/2nd Rounds Columbia, SC March 22/24
1st/2nd Rounds San Jose, CA March 22/24
South Regional Louisville, KY March 28/30
West Regional Anaheim, CA March 28/30
East Regional Washington, D.C. March 29/31
Midwest Regional Kansas City, MO March 29/31
Final Four, National Championship Minneapolis, MN April 6/8

 

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About Rob Schwartz

Rob Schwartz has been a writer, video, and media producer of entertainment and sports news for over 20 years. Rob's strengths lie in clean and clear writing to create interesting stories and clarify difficult to understand topics. Feel free to contact Rob regarding stories or production requests.

About Rob Schwartz

Rob Schwartz has been a writer, video, and media producer of entertainment and sports news for over 20 years. Rob's strengths lie in clean and clear writing to create interesting stories and clarify difficult to understand topics. Feel free to contact Rob regarding stories or production requests.

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