What is March Madness?

This event (men and women) continues to grow and entertain


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The March Madness logo

Hunter Miller, Staff Writer

March Madness is the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournament. It features 68 teams competing at the highest collegiate level. The tournament is single elimination with 67 games played including the first four play-in games.

March Madness started 82 years ago and is now known as one of the most popular sporting events and is the biggest tournament contestant wise in all of American sports.

Many fans are interested in the tournament because it is single elimination (win and you stay in, lose and you are out). This makes the tournament unique and keeps the fans interested as any team can win on any day and it puts pressure on the teams and players to perform. 

The 2022 tournament’s perfect bracket (CBS Sports)

Every year there seems to be a lower seeded team that makes a run that almost nobody could have predicted. Fans almost expect to see a great run from a low seeded team every year. This adds drama to the tournament which draws in even more viewers. This also keeps the powerhouses from dominating because upsets are more likely.

With the amount of games being played many are on at the same time. The viewers have options and can watch the games that they want to. There are 48 games that are played over a four day stretch.

The best part of March Madness for many people are the brackets. Fans fill out brackets and try to predict the games. This keeps fans interested even if their favorite team is knocked out.

The odds of someone getting a perfect bracket if each team has a 50:50 chance is 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Obviously the odds aren’t very good but the fans still enjoy cheering on teams and love trying to get a perfect bracket.

The women have a bracket as well with games that are as entertaining as the men (Sports Illustrated)

The tournament is also held at the perfect time of the year because it’s right after the Super Bowl and right before the NBA and NHL playoffs. Many fans are dying for more postseason action during this time of the year and you don’t even have to have followed the regular season to understand the games.

The NCAA tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011 which created the first four play-in games. The play-in games are  between the teams that are less qualified to make the tournament. Win and you’re in.

Selection Sunday is March 12. This is when the tournament announces the teams that are picked for the tournament. Fans become eager on Selection Sunday as they are waiting for the bracket to be final so they can see if their team made it or not.

The 64 teams that make the tournament are split into four different regions of 16 teams. Then teams are seeded 1-16 so within the entire tournament there are multiple teams with the same seed. The first round matchups are determined by the seeding. The higher seeds play the lower seeds. For example, the first seed would play the 16 seed. 

The new Final Four logo for the 2023 tournament (NCAA.com)

During March Madness there are seven official rounds of the tournament. The first is called the first four which is just the play-in round. The second round is called the round of 64 and the third round is called the round of 32. The Sweet 16 is the next round and is when there are only 16 teams left. The final rounds consist of the Elite Eight, Final Four and then the National Championship.

The NCAA generates around a billion dollars in revenue from media rights, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, and television ads within the three-week-long tournament. The tournament is also a big time for sports bettors. In 2022 bettors wagered $3.1 billion on the tournament. 

Even though the NCAA generates a ton of money, the players receive zero compensation even if their team wins the entire tournament. The schools, however, get paid 1.67 million dollars over the course of six years.

With the tournament just a couple of days away fans are excited to fill out their brackets and tune into the games. Play the SuttonHighNews bracket challenge to win a great prize and enjoy the tournament!  You can play either the Men’s bracket or the Women’s bracket. The password for both is IReadSHSNews. Thanks, and good luck!