NCAAB Men’s Basketball Tournament
The American NCAA Men’s basketball competition is an elimination tournament played every March, pitting the best college basketball teams from the NCAA Level 1 division against each other.
68 teams compete in the NCAA tournament each year, consisting of 32 Division 1 conference champions and 36 other teams who win their way through via the NCAA selection committee.
The teams are split into four regions, each of which is a single-elimination bracket. The winner of each bracket advances to the Final Four, which is in effect two semi-finals and then a championship match between the two semi-final winners.
NCAA Men’s basketball History
The tournament began in 1939 and is one of America’s biggest sporting events, attracting huge crowds and a massive television audience.
Since 2011, all games have been available on CBS, TBS or TNT and the popularity is demonstrated by the number of Americans filling out a ‘bracket’, where punters try to predict the result of every game in the tournament. The four regions are the West, South, East and Midwest, which represent geographical location across the US.
35 different colleges have won the NCAA Championship, and the current 68 team competition has been that way since 2011.
10 Fast NCAA Basketball Facts
1. The later rounds of the tournament each have their own names – the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ and ‘Elite Eight’ are the round of 16 and 8 respectively, while the Final Four is the culmination of the tournament.
2. ‘Selection Sunday’ is the day when the tournament committee decides the last 36 places in the tournament, with eight of those teams (the lowest eight ranked) competing in a First Four play-in where they attempt to get the final spots in the tournament.
3. While the four regions are generally based on geographical location, the committee’s goal is to make the four regions as evenly matched as possible as far as the quality of teams goes.
4. Teams are prohibited from playing games on their home floor before the Final Four.
5. Harvard have the longest drought between tournament berths; they broke a 66-year drought when they appeared in 2012.
6. Dartmouth have the longest current drought – they last made the tournament in 1959.
7. Four schools which have been Division 1 members since 1948 have never made the tournament – Army, The Citadel, St. Francis Brooklyn and William & Mary.
8. Missouri has hosted the Final Four on nine occasions, a tournament record.
9. Villanova (#8) was the lowest seed to ever win the tournament, winning in 1985.
10. Butler is the only side to make consecutive Final Fours without being ranked as a #1 or #2 seed, making the championship game in 2010 and 2011.
One of the greatest finishes in NCAA Tournament History Unfolds
NCAA Men’s basketball Betting Types
NCAA Men’s basketball offers a range of bet types – throughout the year, you can bet on the championship winner with most sides offering great value with double figure odds. As the tournament nears closer, the odds for the favourites drop dramatically.
As mentioned above, the higher seeds almost always win the championship.
For each game from the First Four through to the championship game, punters can pick the head-to-head winners, bet on the line and select the highest individual scorers in the games.
Past 5 NCAA Men’s Champions
2016/17 – North Carolina defeated Gonzaga 71-65 in the championship game:
North Carolina were the #3 overall seed and defeated the #4 overall seed in the final. Joel Berry II won the Most Outstanding Player award in the Final Four, scoring 22 points and handing out 6 assists in front of 76,168 fans at the University of Phoenix.
2015/16 – Villanova defeated North Carolina 77-74 in the championship game:
Villanova captured the title as the #7 overall seed, defeating second-seeded North Carolina. Kris Jenkins made history, hitting a three-pointer as time expired. This winning shot came seconds after Marcus Paige had hit a triple to tie the game, but Villanova were a deserved champion as they shot 58.3% from the field in the decider.
2014/15 – Duke defeated Wisconsin 68-63 in the championship game:
The #3 seed defeated the #4 seed in this clash, with Tyus Jones winning the most outstanding player award.
Wisconsin centre Frank Kaminsky III had double-doubles in both the semi-final and championship game, but his efforts were in vain as Jones, Justice Winslow and Grayson Allen were too much as the Blue Devils broke away to win their 5th title in their 11th championship game.
2013/14 – Connecticut defeated Kentucky 60-54 in the championship game:
These two sides created history, being the #7 and #8 seed making it the first ever final not to feature a #1, #2 or #3 seed. It was also just the third final ever not to feature a #1 or #2 seed. Shabazz Napier from UConn won the most outstanding player award, leading his team in points, rebounds and assists in the championship match.
It was not a pretty game with both sides struggling to shoot 40% from the field, but Napier proved to be the difference.
2012/13 – Louisville defeated Michigan 82-76 in championship game:
The Cardinals were the #1 overall seed and justified that seeding by winning their third national title.
The Wolverines were ranked #13 overall and were a #4 seed in their region, and led 35-23 late in the first half before Louisville gradually reigned them in.
Luke Hancock became the first ever non-starter to win the Most Outstanding Player award, scoring 22 points in the championship game and hitting all five three-pointers he attempted.
Past 5 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award Winners
2016/17 – Joel Berry II (junior, North Carolina)
2015/16 – Ryan Arcidiacono (senior, Villanova)
2014/15 – Tyus Jones (freshman, Duke)
2013/14 – Shabazz Napier (senior, UConn)
2012/13 – Luke Hancock (junior, Louisville)
Most NCAA Men’s Championships
- UCLA have won 11 titles, but haven’t won since 1995.
- Kentucky rank second with 8 titles, the latest of which was 2012.
- North Carolina have won 6 titles, and Duke and Indiana five titles apiece.
- Legendary coach John Wooden won 10 national championships, double the most of the next most successful list Mike Krzyzewski from Duke who has won five titles.
- Carolina is the most successful state, having had 15 national champions.