March Madness has gained a reputation as one of the most watched and anticipated sports events in the United States. The Division I basketball tournament, which is organized by the NCAA, is a single-elimination competition that pits 68 teams against each other in 7 rounds. The goal is to win the national championship and hold the March Madness bragging rights for a year. And with this year’s tournament already here, here is a look at what you should know about this famed NCAA event.
March Madness 2023 Schedule
Teams can earn a March Madness bid through the automatic selection given to all 32 Division 1 conferences or an at-large bid. The conferences award an invitation to the team that cinches the postseason conference title, allotting 32 spots. For the other 36, a selection team sits on Selection Sunday to pick viable teams. This year’s Selection Sunday is slated for 12 March. Other dates include:
First Four: 14 to 15 March
First Round: 16 to 17 March
Second Round: 18 to 19 March
Sweet 16: 23 to 24 March
Elite Eight: 25 to 26 March
Final Four: 1 April
NCAA Championship Game: 3 April
Seeds and First Round
Once the selection team announces the remaining teams, the field of 69 is complete, and the teams are assigned a seed and categorized into one of four regions. The committee ranks the teams, 1 through 68, depending on conference tournament and regular season performance. This is followed by the First Four event, which sees four teams eliminated to leave 64 for the First Round. Typically, the remaining teams are grouped into 4 16-team regions, with each team receiving a ranking (1 through 16). Matchups are then created by pitting number 1 versus number 16, number 2 versus number 15, and so on.
Only 32 teams are left in the tournament by the end of the first Round. This year, the Round of 32 or the Second Round will take place on 18 and 19 March for men and 19 and 20 March for women. The remaining teams will go against each other in 16 brackets, with the winners moving on to the Third Round. Also called Sweet 16, the Third Round will take place on 23 and 24 March for men and 24 and 25 March for women. It will see the 16 teams play against other teams in their divisions. The divisions will be further divided into Midwest, West, East, and South Regions. After this section, the 8 remaining teams will go head to head in the Elite Eight on 25 and 26 March for men and 26 and 27 for women.
Final Four and NBA Championship
By the Final Four, which will be held on 1 April for men and 31 March for women, only 4 teams will be left in the tournament. The 2 teams that win this Round will face each other in the final championship on 3 April for men and 2 April for women.
Participating in March Madness
Meanwhile, fans can do more than watch March Madness. You can participate by filling out the famous bracket. Popularly known as The Bracket Challenge Game, this is the official NCAA bracket game that opens immediately after team announcements on Selection Sunday and closes before the first Round. The goal is to make your picks and post them before this window closes.
If you are new to this, you can learn how to pick brackets for march madness and NBA betting through online guides. It is important not to put too much pressure on yourself, as no one has ever gotten a perfect March Madness bracket. You can try, nonetheless. Remember to keep an eye out for the No. 5 Vs. No. 12 and No. 6 Vs. No. 11 games, as they often yield unexpected results.
So far, oddsmakers have Alabama, Purdue, Kansas, and Houston as favorites for this year's March Madness. With some time left on the clock, you can review season stats and performances and start working on your bracket. Who will move on to the Final Four? Who will win?