Here’s some background information about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
March 14-April 3, 2017 – The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament takes place. Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga are No. 1 seeds.
April 3, 2017 – The North Carolina Tar Heels defeat the Gonzaga Bulldogs 71-65 in the national championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
68 teams are invited to compete.
– 32 teams receive automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments.
– 36 teams receive an at-large bid from the NCAA Selection Committee.
The 10-member selection committee, comprised of athletic directors and conference commissioners, is responsible for selecting the 36 at-large teams, seeding (or ranking) all 68 teams and placing them in one of four regions within the bracket. The committee’s field of 68 is revealed on the Sunday before the four first-round games, appropriately dubbed “Selection Sunday.”
The selection process is based on a number of factors including win-loss record, strength of schedule and Rating Percentage Index (RPI) data.
The single-elimination tournament is nicknamed “March Madness” or “The Big Dance.”
The “First Four” are the four opening round games. Two games match number 16 seeds against each other, and the other two games feature the last four at-large teams selected into the tournament. The winners advance to the next round, the round of 64.
Each of the four regions consists of 16 teams that are seeded number 1 to number 16. In the first round, teams are paired according to seed. The number 1 seed faces number 16, number 2 faces number 15, number 3 faces number 14, and so forth. The winning teams advance to the second round.
The sixteen teams that advance beyond their first and second-round games are referred to as the “Sweet Sixteen.” The remaining eight teams are called the “Elite Eight,” and the last four teams are the “Final Four.”
An underdog or lower-seeded team that advances throughout the tournament is often referred to as a “Cinderella” team.
UCLA has won the most NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments – 11.
National TV ad spending during the tournament reached $1.24 billion in 2016.
An average of 17.8 million total viewers watched the championship game in 2016. In total, the tournament championship game generated 2.5 billion minutes of television and digital media consumption.
1939 – The first tournament is held, and eight teams compete. Oregon defeats Ohio State 46-33.
1954 – The tournament final is broadcast live nationwide for the first time.
1991 – CBS begins broadcasting all games live.
1999 – CBS obtains an 11-year contract through 2013 worth $6 billion to broadcast the tournament.
2005 – College Sports Television begins a two-year agreement with CBS Sportsline.com and the NCAA for exclusive video streaming rights on CSTV.com for out-of-market game coverage. CSTV pays CBS $3 million for the rights and expects to be profitable in the first year.
March 25, 2010 – In an opinion piece on ESPN.com US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proposes that collegiate “teams that graduate fewer than 40 percent of their players should be ineligible for postseason competition and honors.”
April 22, 2010 – In addition to expanding the men’s tournament basketball field to 68 teams from 65, the NCAA announces a 14-year, $10.8 billion television rights deal with CBS and Turner Sports. The deal, which goes into effect in 2011, marks the first time that each game will be televised nationally.
April 12, 2016 – The NCAA announces an eight year extension of its TV deal with Turner Broadcasting and CBS Sports. The extension to the current deal — for a combined total rights fee of $8.8 billion — will keep the big game at Turner and CBS until 2032.