Why the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is called March Madness

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Starting back in 1939, March Madness has become one of the most celebrated, most talked about, and most enjoyed event in basketball. Everything you need to know about it is all below.

What is March Madness?

This basketball tournament is a single-elimination 7 round tournament in which 68 teams play for the national championship. Final Four is what the penultimate round of the tournament is called, in which there are only four teams.

How Has the Tournament Changed Over the Years?

When the tournament started, it only had eight teams as opposed to the 68 now. The first March Madness tournament was won by Oregon when they beat Ohio State 46-33.

The number of teams increased to 16 in 1951, then kept increasing for years to follow, finally reaching the 64-team point by 1985. In 2001, the total teams became 65, and then in 2011, the total became up to 68 teams, which is how the tournament is currently played years after its inception in 1939.

Why is it Called “March Madness”?

Even though Henry V. Porter, Illinois high school official, was the first to call basketball by this name, it didn’t gain fame until 1982 when CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger referred to the NCAA tournament using the words March Madness during the event’s coverage.

And since then, the term has become to mean the same thing as “the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament”.

How is Team Selection Done?

To become part of the tournament, a team needs to earn a bid. This can be done in two ways. Firstly, there are automatic qualifiers. Automatic bids are given to the 32 Division I conferences are further awarded to teams that win the postseason conference tournament. The team’s performance in regular season plays no role in this selection.

The other way of earning a bid is an at-large bid. This is done during an event called Selection Sunday, where the selection committee sits down after the regular season is over, and all-conference tournaments are done. And then they deliberate on which 36 teams have the caliber to earn a bid to become part of the tournament.

What is the Selection Committee?

The selection committee comprises of 10 members who are tasked with the selection, seeding, and bracketing of the field for the tournament ahead. Each member serves for five years. Members are selected when they are nominated by their conference and are mostly conference and school administrators.


How is it Decided Which Teams get an At-Large Bid?

There isn’t any set criteria or formula by which the committee decides what teams earn an at-large bid. Instead, multiple rankings and figures are taken into account to reach a decision.

What Comes After Selection?

After selection, there is the seeding process in which all 68 teams are assigned one seed and divided amongst four different regions. These seeds and regions are what then determine the first round of matches for the teams and their schedule throughout the tournament.

What are Seeds?

On Selection Sunday, before the tournament begins, all 68 teams are ranked from 1 to 68, on the basis both conference tournaments and regular season performances. Then four teams are eliminated straight in the first round of the tournament, leaving behind only 64 teams then.

The remaining teams are then divided into four regions, and each region has 16 teams. Within those regions, the 16 teams are then ranked again from 1 to 16. And these rankings are what is known as seeds.

How are First-Round Matchups Done?

For the first round, matchups are done by scheduling matches of a top team in its region with one from the bottom in the region. So for example, No. 1 vs No. 16, making it an easy opening game for No. 1. Then it moves on to the next highest number and the next lowest number, making it No. 2 vs No. 15. And on it goes. There are always upsets though, when trying to spot a bracket buster, you could use Betway’s research to make an informed pick.

What is Selection Sunday?

Selection Sunday is when the Selection Committee sits down to finalize the entire NCAA tournament bracket, complete with all the participating teams and their rankings.

When is 2019’s March Madness?

With Selection Sunday set to happen on March 17, the March Madness is going to commence in full swing in this coming weekend!