You asked and we answered your March Madness queries
What is the NCAA?
- The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is a member-led organization that oversees all collegiate sports.
Who are the members of the selection committee that choose which teams play in the tournament?
- The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee is responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field for the NCAA Tournament. The committee is made up of 10 members who are nominated by conference to serve five year terms. Typically, the committee is made up of college athletic directors.
If the committee members are on staff at a university and represent a conference, how can they be unbiased?
- According to the NCAA, conference representatives cannot be in the room when teams from their conference are being discussed for inclusion, nor are they allowed to vote for them. Same goes for a school representative, who cannot participate in or vote for their own school.
Where do brackets come from?
- There are 32 automatic bids for teams that win their conference tournaments. The rest of the spots are filled with the best teams as determined by the selection committee.
How do they determine who plays in which region?
- The bracket is divided up into four different regions, west, south, east and midwest. Teams are seeded #1-16 in a respective bracket region with #1 being the highest ranked team. The committee places the teams in a region, it’s not necessarily done by geographical location. The #1 overall seed teams will be able to choose the location of their first two games of the tournament.
How then do they avoid home court advantage for teams?
- All games, with the exception of the Final Four games, are guaranteed to be on neutral courts.
Has it always been 68 teams?
- In 2011, the tournament expanded to 68 teams. In the same year, the NCAA and CBS reached a 14-year/$10.8 billion TV agreement.
How many games can a team in the tournament lose?
- The tournament is single elimination. If you lose, you go home.
What are the teams playing for?
- Teams are playing for the title of champions of college basketball.
What's my best chance to win when picking my bracket?
- There's no guaranteed strategy. People spend hours and hours researching and they have just as much of a chance of winning as a person who picked their bracket based on which team’s mascot they liked better. As a general rule of thumb, the higher seed usually wins (at least in the extreme cases of a #1 vs #16 team). Anything can happen and that’s what makes March Madness so exciting.
I don't remember all of this craziness - when did the march madness bracket challenge excitement start?
- The tournament itself began in 1939. The term “March Madness” originates from Illinois High School basketball, but the term was officially copyrighted by the NCAA in 1988. By 2005, the NCAA tournament had become the second most popular sporting event amongst gamblers in the sports books, office pools or online. (Super Bowl is the most popular).
Everyone in my office has a bracket, so who is actually working? How much money is lost from unproductive employees watching the games and checking their brackets?
- Nearly 70 million people filled out brackets in 2017 and it’s estimated that $6.3 billion was lost in work productivity during the tournament last year.
Which university has won the most NCAA championship titles?
UCLA (University of California - Los Angeles) has won the most with 11 national championship titles.
Do women's college basketball teams have a similar tournament?
Yes. The women's tournament started in 1982 and is a similar structure to the men's tournament. Keep an eye out for the UCONN team, which is entering the tournament on the heels of an undefeated regular season.
Have a question you don’t see the answer to? Let us know.