Is March Madness only for D1 college sports teams?
As we get our brackets filled out, you may notice that your favorite college is not among the schools available. What are the criteria for taking part?
March Madness, you may be interested to know, is a television branding moniker, not the official title of the tournaments themselves. The actual names are the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. Each tournament is made up of 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level, but invitation is not available to all teams.
There are 32 automatic bids into the competition, reserved for the winning teams from each of the 32 conferences. Additionally, there are 36 “at-large” bids, given to teams seen as being the most competitive runners up from around the country. Generally, these bids are given to teams from the big conferences such as the ACC, the Big 12, SEC, and Pac-12.
A selection committee made up of athletic directors and commissioners is appointed for five years and they have the final say on who is offered a bid. To help them make this decision, they use a metric called the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) which takes account of:
The committee will meet to select and place all 68 teams on a Sunday in March known as Selection Sunday. The first round of games begin on the third Thursday of March, with Selection Sunday immediately previous, which means that it can never fall before March 11 or after March 17.
With the growth of fantasy sports in the United States, March Madness has become one of the largest annual sporting events of the calendar. Have you filled in your bracket?