Does NCAA basketball have overtime?
March Madness is around the corner, and there are some fantasic finishes that await us over the couse of the confernce tournaments and the NCAA tournament.
The first day of March brings plenty to look forward to. After four months of winter we finally start the countdown to spring. Fans of Irish fair will have St. Patricks day to celebrate, and and after five months of college basketball, it’s finally time to start thinking about March Madness and the road to the Final Four in New Orleans.
Before the madness starts, we dive into the thick of Conference Championship season. Many of the top teams in the country will be looking to end their conference schedules on a good note while heading into the tournament with the highest possible seed. Other teams who aren’t in that tourney bubble can qualify for the knockout phase of the season by winning the conference and earning an automatic bid.
March Madness and the Conference Tournament slate always brings out the best in teams, which provides us with dramatic finishes to air tight games. This year is certain to provide us with plenty of heart-stopping, buzzer-beating finishes, and in many of those games the 40 minutes of regulation will not be enough.
Unlike in football, the overtime rules in in the collegiate ranks and the professional ranks are much the same. If both teams are level after regulation there is a five minute overtime session that will start with a tip-off. There are no ties in college basketball, so the two teams will go to a second, then a third and a fourth overtime and so on until one team finishes the overtime session with more points than their opponent.
Cincy vs. Bradley: NCAA's longest game ever
The one difference between the NBA and the NCAA is the timeout situation. In the pros, coaches have two timeouts to use in the each of the extra sessions while college coaches have just one timeout that lasts 75 seconds.
Overtime has provided us with some of the most memorable games in college basketball history. Back in 1981, the University of Cincinnati and Bradley played the longest game ever. The regular season game lasted 75 minutes, or two 20 minute halves and then seven overtime periods. Cincy bested Bradley 75-73 after Doug Schloemer hit a jumper with a second left on the clock.
If that was a little too far back for your memory maybe you remember the classic game in the 2009 Big East Tournament between Connecticut and Syracuse. The quarterfinal game went to six overtimes and had enough twists and turns to send each of the fans into near cardiac arrest when all was said and done. The Orange won the game despite never leading in any of the first five over time sessions.
We are just about to get the conference craziness started, so sit back, relax and enjoy the non stop, frenzied finishes through the month of March and beginning of April.