NBA

March Madness 2021

All you need to know about the NCAA basketball March Madness tournament

March Madness - What does it actually mean?

Don’t worry, it’s not a full month of us going mad doing crazy things. It’s a very popular sporting event that grips the whole of America and picks out the best basketball players at the college level. March Madness is the name given to the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament. The winner will be crowned the overall national college champion. The tournament, which was first introduced in 1939, includes the champions from 32 Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association. It also includes 36 extra teams that are chosen by an NCAA selection committee. March Madness was the original idea of Ohio State coach Harold Olsen and it has become so popular in the United States. It is one of the most famous annual sporting events in the country, in terms of viewing figures and money placed through betting. UCLA has won the most titles in the history of the tournament with 11 to their name. They won their first one back in 1964 when they beat Duke 98-83. Their final triumph coming in 1995 when they defeated Arkansas 89-78. Kentucky is next in line with eight title wins with their most recent one being in 2012. That was a 67-59 success over Kansas. Virginia Cavaliers are the current holders of the NCAA Division 1 title. They needed an overtime win over Texas Tech Red Raiders in Minnesota to take the spoils 85-77. That was the first time the Cavaliers have tasted success in the NCAA March Madness.

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FAQ

  • What year did the March Madness start?

  • Why is it called March Madness?

  • Who has won the most March Madness titles?

  • When does March Madness get underway?

  • How many teams take place in the NCAA March Madness?

  • How are the teams seeded for the NCAA March Madness?

  • Who is the NCAA March Madness selection committee?

  • Can I watch March Madness live on television?

  • How much has the NCAA March Madness changed over the years?

What is March Madness - How does it work?

march

The structure of March Madness has changed a number of times over the years. The current format has been in play since 2011 and has no real plans to be changed again.

It started off with a total of eight teams competing for the main prize in 1939. The number of participants has risen over the years. By 1985 there were a staggering 64 teams taking part. One more was added before the Final Four scenario came into play. That was the case until 2011 when three more teams were added to give is the structure we have today.

A total of 68 teams will compete in March Madness. Thirty two teams are picked automatically as the champions of their respective conferences.

The remaining 36 teams are granted what is known as an at-large berth. This is when an NCAA selection committee research the remaining teams and choose what they believe are the best teams that did not win their championship. It is believed that teams with stronger reputations or ones that can produce more revenue are rated higher than other teams with a similar on-court record.

After all the teams have qualified and the selection committee has chosen the required 36 teams to make up the roster of 68, it will then be determined which teams are allocated their regions.

For March Madness, this basketball tournament is split into four regions with each region having at least 16 teams. The names vary from year to year and are broadly geographic like West, South, East, and Midwest.

The selection committee ranks the field of 68 teams from 1-68 before being split into their regions. This is also known as brackets. The top four teams will be distributed among the regions and will be allocated the number one spot. The next best four will be ranked number two and that cycle continues until all the spots are filled.

The NCAA March Madness selection committee have to closely monitor how they rank matters. They are instructed to ensure that, wherever possible, that same conference teams cannot meet each other until the regional finals.

They also attempt to keep teams apart for the opening rounds. Teams who have clashed in a regular-season contest or past tournaments should not meet so early.

The tournament consists of several different rounds – They are as follows:

  • The First Four
  • The First Round (the Round of 64)
  • The Second Round (the Round of 32)
  • The Regional Semi-finals
  • The Regional Finals
  • The National Semi-finals
  • The National Championship

First Four

The four lowest-ranked automatically chosen teams will compete to receive the number 16 seeds. The four lowest-ranked at-large teams battle it out for the number 11 seeds. This is classed as the Final Four.

The Final Four was first introduced in 2011.

First and Second Rounds

The first round sees the number one seed take on number 16 in all regions. Rank number two battles 15 and so on until all the matches have been selected. The aim of the ranking system ensures a better team receives a higher position and will face a so-called weaker opponent.

Sixteen first-round games will be played following the First Four round on a Thursday. Sixteen more matches take place the following day. This will then see the tournament reduce to 32 teams.

The second round will get underway on Saturday and Sunday as soon as the first round is completed. Once all second-round matches are finished, the tournament will have 16 teams remaining.

Regional semi-finals and finals

The remaining teams will now battle it out in the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ and ‘Elite Eight’. All these matches will be played during the second weekend of the tournament. Four regional semi-finals will take place on Thursday and another four on Friday. That will leave eight teams left in the competition and they will go on to fight it out in the Elite Eight to determine the ‘Final Four’.

Final Four

The winners of each region will go on to the Final Four. The national semi-finals will take place on Saturday with the final going ahead on Monday.

Strength of Schedule

Strength of Schedule is a very popular term when it comes to American sports. It basically refers to the difficulty a team’s opponent is compared to another one through their win percentage. This has been deemed extremely important in a league that teams don’t play their opponents the same number of times.

The Strenght of Schedule can be displayed in two ways. One sees the scheduled measured in distance from the average. This means half of the team’s Strength of Schedule are because of positive numbers, while the other half are negative. The higher the number you receive, the stronger the schedule.

In some places, a team’s Strength of Schedule is displayed as rank amongst all teams. This means the lower the number, the stronger their schedule will be.

Teams with a Strength of Schedule ranked from six to 15 have enjoyed more success in recent years.

Betting on March Madness

March Madness is a very popular tournament when it comes to betting. Many sports betting vendors offer a wide range of markets on every game.

The most popular markets undertaken during March Madness include the following:

Single Game Bets

This market is one of the simplest ones on offer. This market allows the punter to get involved in the individual outcome of any game during NCAA March Madness.

All you need to do with this market is to pick the winner of said match, Not a lot of thought is needed for these kinds of bets. Just which one to put your faith and money in.

Tournament Winner Bets

This betting market is harder to be successful in, but it can end up being more lucrative. To win this bet, all you need to do is choose who will become the overall national champion.

It seems easy, but as we all know betting is not that simple. The thrill of watching your selected team progress throughout the tournament is very satisfying. Although, if your team falls in the early stages then you are out of the race altogether.

The Almighty Bracket Bet

This market is by far the most popular one when it comes to March Madness. Once the full bracket has been released, you will then be able to bet on the outcome of every game leading up to the winner of the overall tournament.

You need to pick a winner for every game. Your selections need to be completed before the tournament gets underway.

A points system will help determine who has the best bracket. The rules for the points are determined by whatever pool you are entering in. Points are handed out for each correct pick.

The more correct picks you select in the opening round, the more chances you have to make correct points in the next round.

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