NCAA Basketball Tournament Highlights

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the NCAA men’s basketball and Women’s basketball tournaments. The knockout tournament is dubbed “March Madness” or “The Big Dance”.

2022 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Finals

April 4, 2022 – Men’s Finals – Kansas Jayhawks complete biggest comeback in title game history to edge past North Carolina Tar Heels 72-69 for the national championship at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. This is the 4th title of the program and the first since 2008.

April 3, 2022 – Women’s Finals – The The South Carolina Gamecocks win their second national championship in five years after beating the Connecticut Huskies 64-49 at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

2021 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Finals

April 5, 2021 – Men’s Finals – Baylor Bears beat Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. This is Baylor’s first NCAA men’s basketball title.

April 4, 2021 – Women’s Finals – Stanford Cardinal defeats Arizona Wildcats 54-53. It is Stanford’s third national title and first since 1992.

Male selection process

68 teams are invited to compete.
– 32 teams receive automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments.
– 36 teams receive a general offer from the NCAA Selection Committee.

The 12-member selection committee, made up of athletic directors and conference commissioners, is responsible for selecting the 36 overall teams, ranking (or ranking) the 68 teams, and placing them into one of four bracket regions. The 68-member committee field is revealed on the Sunday before the four first-round games, aptly dubbed “Selection Sunday.”

The selection process is based on many factors, including win-loss record, schedule strength, and NET data (NCAA’s rating tool).

Women Selection Process

68 teams are invited to compete.
– 32 teams receive automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments.
– 36 teams receive a general offer from the NCAA Selection Committee.

Similar to the male selection process, a Selection committee of 12 members chooses the 36 general teams, distributes (or ranks) the 68 teams and places them in one of the four regions of the range.

The committee’s field of 68 is revealed the day before the four games of the first round.

The selection process is based on many factors, including win-loss record, schedule strength, and NET data (NCAA’s rating tool).

Other facts

The “First Four” are the four matches in the opening round of the men’s tournament. Two matches take on the No. 16 seeds, and the other two matches feature the final four teams selected for the tournament. The winners advance to the next round, the round of 16.

For the men’s and women’s tournaments, each of the four regions consists of 16 teams which are seeded #1 through #16. In the first round, teams are paired based on the top seed. The No. 1 seed faces No. 16, the No. 2 faces No. 15, the No. 3 faces No. 14, and so on. The winning teams advance to the second round.

The 16 teams that advance beyond their first and second round matches are referred to as the “Sweet Sixteen”. The remaining eight teams are called the “Elite Eight” and the final four teams are the “Final Four”.

An underdog or lower-ranked team that progresses throughout the tournament is often referred to as a “Cinderella” team.

UCLA has the most wins in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with 11.

The University of Connecticut (UConn) has the most wins in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament with 11.


1939 – The first men’s tournament takes place and eight teams compete. Oregon defeats Ohio State 46-33.

1954 – The tournament final is broadcast live nationwide for the first time.

1982 – The first women’s tournament is organized and 32 teams compete. Louisiana Tech defeats Cheyney 76-62.

1991 – CBS begins broadcasting all games live.

1999 – CBS is awarded an 11-year contract through 2013 worth $6 billion to broadcast the tournament.

2005 – College Sports Television begins a two-year agreement with CBS and the NCAA for exclusive video streaming rights to for out-of-market game coverage. CSTV pays CBS $3 million for the rights and expects to be profitable in the first year.

April 22, 2010 – In addition to expanding the men’s tournament basketball field to 68 of 65 teams, the NCAA announces a 14-year, $10.8 billion television rights deal with CBS and Turner Sports. The agreement, which will come into effect in 2011, marks the first time that every match will be nationally televised.

April 12, 2016 – The NCAA announces an 8-year extension to its TV agreement with Turner Broadcasting and CBS Sports. The extension to the current deal – for a total combined royalty of $8.8 billion – will keep the jackpot at Turner and CBS going through 2032.

February 20, 2018 – The NCAA Violation Appeals Committee announces that it will uphold sanctions against the Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team for their serious violations of NCAA rules. The Committee’s panel concluded that they “acted unethically … by arranging strip dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not had not cooperated in the investigation”. The penalties void all wins from 2011 to 2015, including the 2013 National Championship and participation in the 2012 Final Four.

August 22, 2018 – the The NCAA announces a new ranking tool, the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool). It replaces the RPI, or Ranking Performance Index, as the method that will be used to choose the teams that will be selected to participate in the tournament.

March 12, 2020 – NCAA President Mark Emmert and Board of Governors cancel Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournament, along with other winter and spring NCAA championships, due to concern by the coronavirus. Division I championships have been contested every year since the creation of the men’s in 1939 and the women’s in 1982.

January 4, 2021 – The NCAA Announces Entire 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to be Held in Indiana Statewith the majority of the 67 scheduled games to be played in Indianapolis.

February 5, 2021 – The NCAA announces entire 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament to be played in Texaswith the majority of the 63 scheduled games to be played in San Antonio.

September 29, 2021 – After a “comprehensive external review of gender equity issues”, the NCAA announces that beginning in 2022, the “March Madness” brand which has always been used for the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will also be used for the Women’s Basketball Tournament.

November 17, 2021 – The expansion of the table of women’s tournaments is approved. Sixty-eight teams will participate in the 2022 championship, compared to 64 previously.

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