March Madness refers to the basketball tournament that takes place every March. Specifically, the term refers to college basketball from mid-March to early April. This tournament began in 1939, but the term “March Madness” was not applied to this tournament until 1982.
So, why do they call it March Madness anyway? How do teams qualify for March Madness, and how does the bracket work? Speaking of the bracket, how hard is it to predict how the bracket will play out? And is there any difference between women’s and men’s March Madness?
Here is the complete breakdown of March Madness basketball.
Why Is It Called March Madness?
Quite simply, the NCAA Tournament is called “March Madness” for one reason: it is held in March, and it is a hectic time to be associated with basketball, whether that is as a player, a coach, and even a fan. In 1908, high schools throughout Illinois began holding a statewide tournament for all basketball teams. That tournament soon became so popular that it was selling out. This tournament was called “March Madness” by an official in 1939.
In 1982, a CBS broadcaster heard the term while working in Illinois and decided to use it during his NCAA tournament coverage, and the name stuck. There was a legal battle for the term in 1996 between Illinois high schools and the NCAA when the college teams began selling merchandise with the term on it. These legal battles were settled by determining that the name should be shared between the two entities.
How Do College Basketball Teams Qualify for March Madness?
There are two main ways to qualify for March Madness. The first type of qualification depends on that team’s performance in its conference tournament. If the team has won their conference tournament, they automatically qualify for March Madness.
The other way to qualify for March Madness depends upon the NCAA tournament selection committee, the team’s regular season performance, and their rankings. If you have not won your conference tournament, your faith is in the hands of the people who sit on this committee. This committee’s job is to select 36 of the remaining NCAA teams to play to advance to March Madness.
This committee consists of two conference commissioners and eight athletic directors. After choosing which teams will make it to the tournament, their choices are announced on Selection Sunday. This committee also decides where to place all the teams in the March Madness bracket.
How Does the Bracket Work in March Madness?
The NCAA tournament has 68 teams: 32 conference tournament winners and 36 teams the committee chooses. These 68 teams go into four regions: East, Midwest, South, and West. The 16 teams in each of these regions are then seeded based on how the teams played throughout the season.
There are then six rounds of brackets to go through. Since the tournament is single elimination, each round cuts the remaining teams by half. This means that the six rounds are as follows: the first round of 64, the second round of 32, the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and finally, the championship game.
Has a Number 16 Team Ever Won March Madness?
As of 2022, a bottom-rated team has never gone on to win the entire tournament. However, there have been rank 16 teams that perform an upset in the bracket, which means anything is possible.
For instance, in 2018, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) was seeded at 16 when they performed the greatest upset in March Madness history. However, after that win, they lost in the next round.
How Difficult is it to Predict the Bracket?
There are no documented cases of a perfect prediction of the NCAA tournament. And, according to mathematicians, the day that happens very well may never come. The chances of someone filling out a perfect bracket is one in more than nine quintillions.
But what makes it so hard to predict? You’re just taking educated guesses about which teams will win each matchup. While that is technically correct, it gets a lot more complicated based on the number of games played in the tournament.
To correctly fill out the bracket, a person must guess the outcomes of 63 games correctly.
What Are the General TV Audience Ratings for March Madness?
Unsurprisingly, NCAA basketball gains viewers almost every year, except for the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the March Madness title game saw a 4% increase in viewers compared to 2021. This growth means there were almost 17 million viewers for this game!
However, within the tournament, specific matches draw a bigger audience than the final matchup. For example, The Final Four battle of 2015 between Wisconsin and Kentucky was the most-watched March Madness game ever, with more than 22 million viewers.
What Do Players Get from Being in March Madness?
For most of NCAA history, players were also not allowed to accept endorsements while still playing in college. 2022 was the first year that college players were able to profit in any way from March Madness. Now, players can get paid for any use of their images, likenesses, and names.
Is March Madness and the NCAA the Same Thing?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or the NCAA, is an organization that administers college athletes. March Madness is a tournament that is organized and produced by the NCAA. Therefore, you can think of March Madness as a product of the NCAA.
Is There Anything Different Between Men’s and Women’s March Madness Basketball?
While the rules and the process are all the same between NCAA Division I women’s and men’s basketball tournaments, there are a few differences between women’s and men’s basketball in general. For starters, women’s basketball can be up to a full inch smaller than a man’s basketball. The three-point line is also a foot closer to the goal in college basketball.
However, the main difference between women’s and men’s basketball is its popularity. Women’s basketball is generally less popular among the public, and attendance is usually sparse. This is the same for both college basketball and the NBA versus the WNBA. For instance, Ohio State’s men’s basketball brings in about 15,000 people a game, while the women’s team only brings in an average of 3,510 per game.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Connecticut Lady Huskies and Tennessee Lady Volunteers are known to sell out crowds like the NCAA men’s teams from these same schools.
Conclusion: What is March Madness Basketball?
In conclusion, March Madness is the period the NCAA holds its national championship tournament each year. This tournament begins in March, and it is a time when many fans lose their minds with team spirit.
Teams qualify for this tournament in two ways, and 68 total teams take place. The teams are seeded and face each other for a race to the finals. Top-seeded teams are usually the national champions, though this is only sometimes the case.