First Four Countdown
Everyone’s favorite month has arrived. As the rumor goes, the phrase “March Madness” was coined in 1982 by CBS commentator Brent Musburger. In a single moment, he’d managed to capture the intensity, unpredictability and chaos that accompanies the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament.
Whether you’re a college hoops fanatic, or you’re new to March Madness, here’s everything you need to know about the biggest event in basketball, including schedules, important dates and times, and some information on the bracket.
Women’s Official Bracket
Here’s how the situation looks in the Women’s NCAA Tournament after Selection Sunday…
Men’s Official Bracket
Here’s the landscape thrown out by Selection Sunday in the men’s NCAA Tournament…
March Madness 2023 schedule, dates, times
Where is the Final Four being held?
This year’s Final Four will battle it out in the Lone Star State of Texas.
The men’s Final Four will be held in Houston, at the NRG Stadium. The women’s will be held in the American Airlines Center, in Dallas.
Who are the defending NCAA Tournament champions?
In the women’s tournament, the imperious South Carolina are the defending champions. The Gamecocks defeated UConn 64-49 in New Orleans in last years’ tournament decider. South Carolina are on a tear this year, with a 29-0 record.
In the men’s tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks – currently ranked third in the nation – are the defending champions. Kansas defeated North Carolina 72-69 in last years’ championship game.
How is the March Madness bracket determined?
For both the men’s and women’s tournaments, there are 68 teams that take part.
The easy part. There are 32 conferences in Division I of NCAA basketball. Teams that win their conference tournament get an automatic ticket to March Madness. Conference tournaments are either underway now, or soon-to-be underway.
The murky part. That leaves 36 spots left on the bus. The remaining ‘at-large’ bids are determined by the NCAA’s selection committees, which differ for the men’s and women’s tournaments. The committee’s take into account a variety of metrics and factors when determining at-large bids, such as: conference strength, NET ranking, regular season record, notable wins, and others.
The First Four is technically a mini play-in tournament involving the final teams selected, designed to whittle the bracket into a symmetrical 64-team field.
The murkier part. The teams are then organized, by seeding, into regionalized brackets. In the interest of difference and fairness, deference is often given to teams with better records, as well as attempting to split up conferences that have fielded many teams. For example, the Big-12 will likely field many teams this year – so they’ll be split up to ensure difference.
It’s an imperfect science, but a science nonetheless. They don’t call it March Madness for nothing. Bring on the chaos.
We’ll be there every step of the way, covering every upset, storyline and basket.
The Playbook is powered by Genius Sports, the exclusive distributor of Official NCAA Data. Our NCAA LiveStats solution is courtise throughout March Madness, capturing location and statistical data for every play in real-time.