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What is March Madness, and how does it work?

March is here, and with it comes the madness. Here’s a little rundown on the NCAA tournament for those who are feeling a little out of the loop.

March is here, and with it comes the madness. Here's a little rundown on the NCAA tournament for those who are feeling a little out of the loop.
Jamie RhodesUSA TODAY Sports

You’ve probably heard ‘March Madness’ before and wondered what this is and why people are so crazy about it. To put simply is the biggest college basketball tournament. The NCAA organizes it and welcomes teams from all over the country.

What’s so crazy about this particular tournament is that it is arranged to allow underdogs and crazy unexpected outcomes to happen. As a result, pundits and experts rarely get it right on who will win it. It has become a favorite for sports books because of the craziness of the ‘bracket system.’

What is March Madness, and how does it work?

How does ‘March Madness’ really work?

The NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournament consists of 68 teams competing for the national title in a seven-round system. The round before the last is known as the ‘Final Four.’ Most people begin to watch the tournament at this point.

How are the 68 teams chosen?

32 of the 68 teams chosen are “automatic bids,” meaning they were the teams that won their conference’s tournament. The other 36 are considered “at-large” teams and will be selected by the NCAA Selection Committee.

On “Selection Sunday,” which will be held on March 12th this year, the 68 teams are ranked by a selection committee based on how well they played in the regular season. Then, the opening round of the tournament, known as the First Four (on March 14th and 15th this year) will be played to eliminate four of the 68 teams, leaving 64 remaining. The eight teams who play in the First Four are the worst four at-large bids competing against the worst four automatic bids.

Then, from those 64 teams, the tournament is split into four different regions, with 16 teams in each. The regions are East, West, South, and - Midwest. Try to keep up. Within the regions, the teams are ranked one through 16, which will be the team’s seed. Theoretically, the No.1 seed should be better than the No.16 seed.

What are the ‘March Madness Brackets’?

You have probably heard all about the March Madness brackets, which probably brought you to this article. You’ve no chance of winning the bracket with 100 percent accuracy because this is nearly impossible to do and has never been done. Part of the madness of March Madness is the upsets!

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Though in the First Round, we have better ranked teams teams playing lesser ranked ones, there’s been known to be plenty of unexpected upsets in the past, especially in the No.5 vs No.12 and No.6 vs No.11 games, so keep that in mind when creating your bracket. After the First Round, it just gets harder to predict. Try not to go too mad - the odds are VERY slim; you’ll predict the bracket with much accuracy at all. went ahead and crunched the numbers for us, and to save you the headache, we’ll tell you that your chances of picking all 63 games with 100 percent accuracy are 1 in 9.2 quintillions. Yeah, I bet that’s a number you’ve never said aloud. It’s still fun to try. Just in case. Madness.


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