March Madness 2022

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 whole month of us going mad doing crazy things. It’s a viral 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.

First introduced in 1939, the tournament includes the champions from 32 Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association. It also has 36 different teams 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 regarding viewing figures and money placed through betting.

UCLA has won the most titles in the tournament history with 11 to their name. They won their first one back in 1964 when they beat Duke 98-83. Their final triumph came 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.

The Baylor Bears are the current holders of the NCAA Division 1 title. They were crowned as the national champion for the 2020–21 season after beating Gonzaga Bulldogs, 86–70.

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  • 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?


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

It started with 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 researches the remaining teams and chooses what they believe are the best teams that did not win their championship. It is thought 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 sections are allocated their regions.

This basketball tournament is split into four regions for March Madness, with each part 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 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 areas and 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 monitors how they rank matters closely. They are instructed to ensure that, wherever possible, the 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 ranking system ensures a better team receives a higher position and faces a so-called weaker opponent.

Sixteen first-round games will be played following the First Four rounds 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.

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 on Monday.

Strength of Schedule

Strength of Schedule is a trendy term when it comes to American sports. It refers to the difficulty a team’s opponent is compared to another 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 distance from the average. This means half of the team’s Strength of Schedule is positive numbers, while the other half is negative. The higher the number you receive, the stronger the schedule.

A team’s Strength of Schedule is displayed as rank amongst all groups in some places. 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 required for these kinds of bets. Just which one to put your faith and money in.

Tournament Winner Bets

This betting market is more brutal to succeed 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, you are out of the race altogether.

The Almighty Bracket Bet

This market is by far the most popular one for 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 <br> select in the opening round, the more chances to make valid points in the next game.

Picks & Predictions on March Madness

As we all know, there is no such thing as a dead cert when it comes to betting. When it comes to March Madness, though, you can use a few tactics.

We already know that the top-ranked teams will be kept apart from the start. So choosing a number one ranked side to better rank number 16 is a no-brainer.

We see in other sports that backing the underdog pays off quite a lot. But in March Madness, the ultimate prize is massive, and the more talented teams shine through.

Another famous avenue in betting terms is when you bet against the spread. This is slightly more complicated but can prove lucrative. If you are backing the favorite to cover the spread, you need them to win the game by more than the points suggested in the spread.

Here is an example of how it works: The market for Florida versus Nevada will have odds available at +4.5 and -4.5, respectively. If you back Nevada, they need to secure a victory over  4.5 points. If you back that and lose the game 80-76, your bet will win because it beats the spread.

We’ve already covered the best-backed markets during March Madness. There is another market that proves popular during the NCAA March Madness tournament. There is an option to bet on over/under points total for each game.

You are going back to Florida versus Nevada as an example. You can back on over 145 points or under 145 points. If you choose over 145 and the score ends up 75-72, your bet comes in. If you go under 145 and the score is the same, you lose.

Aside from individual matches, you can bet on the overall outcome by backing the tournament winner. It‘s easy to plump for your team or stick some money on the favorites, but there is more to it than that. Last season‘s winner Virginia were available at +950 before the start of the tournament. Meaning that if you backed them to win at $100, you would have won $950.

NCCA Men's Basketball NET Rankings

The primary function of the NCAA’s Evaluation Tool (NET) is to sort teams into four quadrants. The selection committee will then study them to rank them correctly.

If you are a decent team and manage to beat similarly ranked teams around you and don’t lose to the so-called worse teams, you will gain a solid NET ranking.

It is essentially a results-based factor that determines your rank—beating a team that you are fully expected to defeat won’t affect your ranking. Losing to a group you should be hitting will hurt your ranking score.

The ultimate goal of the NET ranking system is to paint a true reflection of how a team has done throughout the season.

The committee concentrates on winning games, and that’s the main issue here. The formula of the average net efficiency in terms of offense and defense is considered. Also, the winning percentage comes into play on where the games will eventually be played.

The system is there to determine who are the best teams. Over an entire season, that should be clear. It’s simple – win your games – easy!

Cinderella Story

Cinderella story – what does that mean?

It doesn’t mean you find a glass slipper on the court and the one who gets it to fit is the champions. That would be ridiculous.

In terms of a Cinderella story, when it comes to the NCAA March Madness, it is a term given to a team that is not expected to do well. It seems almost every year, a team exceeds its expectations. They are more often than not an afterthought when the groups are selected. But they prove everyone wrong and end up being the talking point of March Madness.

Everyone loves a Cinderella team. Most of the time, fans would instead focus their energy on a team given no chance and watch how they progress through the tournament.

You may think this occurs once in a blue moon. You would be wrong; a Cinderella team appears nearly every year and is remembered for a long.

Here are a few of the best Cinderella stories during March Madness:


Despite winning their eight Ivy League titles in 10 years, no one gave Penn a chance in 1979. They would shock the world by putting a run together, seen as one of the original Cinderella stories.

Penn defeated number one seed North Carolina, fourth seed Syracuse, and number 10 seed St John’s as they proved they meant business. They managed to march onto the Final Four and were dumped out by Michigan State – who happened to have Magic Johnson in their side.

This run by Penn saw them become the first team to beat three higher-ranked teams to reach the Final Four. They would not be the last.

North Carolina State

The term ‘miracle’ is used often in sport – maybe too much. But in 1983, North Carolina State produced one of those miracles to become NCAA champions.

They lost ten games in their campaign and weren’t guaranteed a spot. They qualified by winning the ACC tournament and kicked on from there.

After five successive wins, they went up against Houston Chargers. That day, on the Chargers side, was future NBA Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack won the final in the closing second's thanks to a mid-air dunk from Lorenzo Charles to become champions.


In 1985, Villanova managed to win the NCAA championship as number eight seed. This is the lowest seed of any title-winning side in history. They entered the tournament with a record of 19-10 and failed to win any of their first three March Madness games by more than five points. Their form improved dramatically, and they defeated Georgetown in the final. They won that game 66-64.


The LSU Tigers are the only team ranked number 11 to beat teams seeded one, two, and three in the same tournament. In 1986, the Tigers also became the first number 11 to qualify for the Final Four.

They defeated the likes of Memphis State, Georgia Tech, and Kentucky that year. Their run finally came to an end in the national semi-final game as they went down to Louisville.

George Mason

Many believed that George Mason would not make the 2006 NCAA March Madness. They did not receive an automatic bid as they lost in the semi-finals of the CAA tournament.

They were then given the number 11 seed as an at-large bid and made up for the lost time. They got the better of Michigan State, North Carolina, and Connecticut as they marched on to the Final Four.

Their ‘Cinderella’ story came to an end in the Final Four when Florida eliminated George Mason. George Mason was the first CAA team to qualify for the Final Four. They were also the second number 11 seed to reach the semi-finals – after LSU.


Butler came into the 2011 tournament as the number eight seed. They almost exited in the first round as they struggled to get past Old Dominion. The Bulldogs beat Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Florida, and VCU to reach the final. Their journey ended at the final hurdle as Uconn beat them.

Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Gulf Coast was ranked number 15 back in 2013. They managed to become the first 15 seed ever to reach the Sweet 16. They picked up wins over Georgetown and San Diego State. They were eventually knocked out in the Sweet 16 at the hands of Florida.


Syracuse entered the 2016 NCAA March Madness tournament with a point to prove. They had handed themselves a self-imposed postseason ban the year before and were determined to return with a bang. They got victories over Dayton, Middle Tennessee, and Gonzaga to make it through to the Final Four. One of the main reasons they did so well was the form of Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinjie.

They continued their fine form with victory over the number one seed Virginia with Richardson scoring 21 points in the second half as they came from behind. Their run ended in the national semi-final as they went down to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Loyola Chicago

The Loyola Chicago Ramblers are another team that ranked 11 and made it to the Final Four. They recorded victories over Miami, Tennessee, Nevada, and Kansas State. It looked like they would go all the way in 2018, but they were then knocked out in the Final Four by Michigan.

Where is March Madness played?

March Madness will see teams play games at neutral venues. Teams cannot compete on their home court before the Final Four.

The current NCAA rule book states that any court that a team hosts three or more matches on is considered a home court. So that means they would not be able to play any matches there. The only exception to that rule occurred in 2015 when the University of Dayton played their First Four game in their home arena.

A team can be moved to another region during the first fortnight of the tournament. However, the Final Four venue is determined a couple of years in advance. That is set in stone and cannot be changed no matter who the participants are.

That means a team could potentially play their Final Four matches on their home court. This is unlikely as the finals take place in venues bigger than regular college courts. The last team to play in their home city was Butler in 2010, with the final being held at the Lucas Oil Stadium.

The 2022 tournament will be the 84th edition and will get underway on Thursday, March 18; It comes to a close with the NCAA March Madness national championship game on Monday, April 5, at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana.

Below is the schedule for the 2022 March Madness and where each round will take place:

First Four

Thursday, March 18th:

  • Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

First and Second Rounds

Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20:

  • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Indiana Farmers Coliseum
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Mackey Arena in West Lafayette
  • Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
  • Hinkle Fieldhouse

Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22:

  • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Indiana Farmers Coliseum
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Mackey Arena in West Lafayette
  • Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
  • Hinkle Fieldhouse

Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight:

Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28:

  • Midwest Regional – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • West Regional – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30:

  • South Regional – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • East Regional – Mackey Arena in West Lafayette

March Madness Semifinals and Championship (Final Four and Championship)

Saturday, April 3rd, and Monday, April 5th

Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana