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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 selection process is based on many factors including win-loss record, strength of schedule and NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) 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 No. 1 to No. 16. In the first round, teams are paired according to seed. The No. 1 seed faces No. 16, No. 2 faces No. 15, No. 3 faces No. 14, and so forth. The winning teams advance to the second round.
The 16 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 the most NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament wins with 11.
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.
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.
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