March Madness – Everything You Need To Know

march madness

11 minutes

Last Updated: February 25, 2023


Since 1939, each year the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments are held from somewhere around mid-March to the beginning of April.

In sports circles, this time of the year is known as March Madness as the tournament represents one of the most watched sporting events in the US.

Apart from being popular among basketball fans, March Madness is also the biggest event of the year for sports bettors as it generates more in-person and online betting action than any other tournament.

Whether you are a basketball fan or a sports bettor, or both, here are some of the most important things you should know about March Madness 2023 teams and the event itself.

When Is the 2023 NCAA Tournament?

The 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s basketball tournament is the 84th annual edition of the tournament, set to kick off on March 14, 2023.

Eight teams will be participating in the First Four parts of the tournament that will take place on March 14-15.

The first round will be played on Thursday and Friday, March 16-17 and it will feature 64 teams, and the second round will be played on Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19.

The next two stages of the tournament, the Regional Semi-Finals and Finals will be played from the 23rd to the 26th of March.

NRG Stadium in Houston will host the 2023 NCAA Final Four from 1-3 April, with the semi-finals being on the 1st and the championship game on the 3rd of April. After 1971, 2011, and 2016, this will be the fourth time that Houston is hosting the NCAA Final Four.

2023 March Madness Key Dates

Date Round City, State Venue
March 14-15 First Four Dayton, OH UD Arena
March 16 & 18 First/Second Rounds Birmingham, AL Legacy Arena
March 16 & 18 First/Second Rounds Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena
March 16 & 18 First/Second Rounds Orlando, FL Amway Center
March 16 & 18 First/Second Rounds Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
March 17 & 19 First/Second Rounds Albany, NY MVP Arena
March 17 & 19 First/Second Rounds Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena
March 17 & 19 First/Second Rounds Denver, CO Ball Arena
March 17 & 19 First/Second Rounds Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
March 23 & 25 West Regional Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena
March 23 & 25 East Regional New York, NY Madison Square Garden
March 24 & 26 Midwest Regional Kansas City, MO T-Mobile Center
March 24 & 26 South Regional Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
April 1 & 3 Final Four Houston, TX NRG Stadium

Who Will Participate in the 2023 NCAA Tournament?

In total, 68 teams will participate in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournaments. Of those 68 teams, 32 teams will earn their entry by winning their conference tournaments.

The remaining 36 spots will be filled with teams that receive an “at-large” bid from the NCAA tournament selection committee.

what is march madness

After sending out the invites, the NCAA tournament selection committee will also arrange the teams into four regions (East, West, Midwest, and South) and determine their seeds.

The chairman of the 2023 NCAA tournament committee is Bradley Vice’s President for Intercollegiate Athletic, Chris Reynolds. Apart from the chairman, the committee consists of eleven more members.

Where Can I Watch the 2023 NCAA Tournament?

All 67 games of the 2023 NCAA Tournament will be broadcasted on TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV, and their digital platforms, including March Madness Live.

Here is a complete breakdown of the services:

Service Broadcast Price per month Free trial?
Paramount+ CBS $5-$10 7-day free trial
Sling TV TBS, TNT, truTV $40-$55 No
YouTube TV CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV $65 14-day free trial
DIRECTV STREAM CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV $75-$155 Five-day free trial
Hulu + Live TV CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV $70-$83             No

How Long Does an NCAA Tournament Game Last?

NCAA does not change its rules during the NCAA Tournament, which means that the games are played under the standard duration rules.

This includes two halves of 20 minutes as well as 5-minute long overtimes in games in which the score is tied after the end of regulation.

The number of overtime is unlimited and they are repeated until a winner is determined.

What Is the NCAA Final Four?

In the NCAA, the term Final Four is used for the final rounds of both the men’s and the Women’s NCAA Division I basketball tournament, it references that four teams remain in the NCAA Tournament.

Where Will NCAA 2023 Final Four Be Held?

The 2023 NCAA Final Four Will be held at the NRG Stadium in Houston Texas during the first weekend in April.

When is the NCAA 2023 Championship Game?

The semifinals of the NCAA 2023 tournament will be played on April 1st and the 2023 NCAA Championship game will take place on April 3rd, 2023.

NCAA Teams With Most Titles

Although they haven’t won an NCAA championship since 1995, the UCLA Bruins remain the winningest team in NCAA history with 11 titles. Bruins won all but one of their championships under the legendary coach John Wooden.

how many teams play in march madness

Kentucky Wildcats are in 2nd place with 8 titles with the last one coming in 2012, and the North Carolina Tar Heels are the 3rd winningest team in NCAA with 6 titles. They are followed by Duke Blue Devils and Indiana Hoosiers who both have 5 titles to their name.

The Blue devils won their last title in 2015, while the Hoosiers won their last NCAA championship in 1987 under legendary coach Bob Knight.

Team NCAA Titles Years
UCLA 11 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995
Kentucky 8 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012
North Carolina 6 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017
Duke 5 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015
Indiana 5 1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987
Kansas 4 1952, 1988, 2008, 2022
UConn 4 1999, 2004, 2011, 2014
Villanova 3 1985, 2016, 2018
Cincinnati 2 1961, 1962
Florida 2 2006, 2007
Louisville 2 1980, 1986
Michigan State 2 1979, 2000
NC State 2 1974, 1983
Oklahoma State 2 1945, 1946
San Francisco 2 1955, 1956

*Louisville’s participation in the 2013 tournament was later vacated by the Committee on Infractions.

The University of Louisville remains the only program in NCAA history that had to vacate a championship. The Cardinals forfeited their 2013 championship and two more Final Four appearances after being found guilty of violating NCAA rules and allowed practices.

NCAA Coaches With Most Titles

John Wooden is the coach with the most NCAA titles. The former head coach of the UCLA Bruins has 10 championships to his name, twice as much as the 2nd winningest coach in NCAA history Mike Krzyzewski.

Apart from Wooden and Krzyzewski, only one coach in NCAA history has more than 3 NCAA championships and that is Adolph Rupp who has won 4 NCAA Tournaments. You can check out other successful basketball coaches in the table below.

Coach NCAA titles Years Runner-up finishes
John Wooden 10 1964, 1965, 1967–1973, 1975 0
Mike Krzyzewski 5 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015 4
Adolph Rupp 4 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958 1
Roy Williams 3 2005, 2009, 2017 3
Jim Calhoun 3 1999, 2004, 2011 0
Bob Knight 3 1976, 1981, 1987 0
Denny Crum 2 1980, 1986 0
Billy Donovan 2 2006, 2007 1
Henry Iba 2 1945, 1946 1
Ed Jucker 2 1961, 1962 1
Branch McCracken 2 1940, 1953 0
Dean Smith 2 1982, 1993 3
Phil Woolpert 2 1955, 1956 0
Jay Wright 2 2016, 2018 0

NCAA Conferences With Most Titles

If we take into account the current conference memberships, ACC is the conference with most NCAA titles 17, Pac-12 has one less, while SEC and Big Ten are in third place with each of them having 11 titles.

Conference Number of titles
ACC 17
Pac-12 16
SEC 11
Big Ten 11
Big 12 7
American Athletic 6
Big East 5

What is Selection Sunday?

Selection Sunday is a ceremony in which the full bracket for the men’s basketball tournament is revealed, and in which the at-large teams find out if they will play in the tournament.

The Selection Sunday ceremony for the 2023 NCAA Tournament will be held on Sunday, March 12th at 6:00 p.m. ET and it will be airing on CBS after the final conference championship goes off the air.

NCAA fans can also watch the ceremony on Paramount+ and FuboTV.

How Does March Madness Seeding Work?

NCAA DI men’s basketball committee does the seeding for NCAA March Madness, the seeding process consists of three steps:

  1. Select the 36 best at-large teams;
  2. Seed the field of 68 teams; and
  3. Place the teams into the championship bracket

32 NCAA teams that win their conference tournaments get automatic bids for the NCAA tournament, and the remaining 36 teams get at-large bids from the committee.

how does march madness work

When it comes to the at-large bids for the 36 teams, the NCAA DI men’s basketball committee takes into consideration the following:

  1. Team’s record
  2. Team’s schedule
  3. Quality of wins
  4. Quality of losses

Based on these four factors, the committee will rank teams from seed 1 to seed 68. It is in the NCAA’s interest that each of the regions is balanced when it comes to the strength of the teams and because of this, the committee pays special attention when seeding teams.

What Are the First Four in an NCAA Tournament?

The First Four is a term used for the in-play round of the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournament.

The in-play tournament consists of four games, two games are played between the four lowest-ranked teams in the field and two games are played between the four lowest-seeded “at-large” teams in the field.

Only the four teams that beat their opponents in these games qualify for the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Each of the First Four in-play tournament games is played at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

The only time when the in-play tournament did not take place in Dayton, was in 2021 when the whole NCAA tournament took place in the State of Indiana.

How Many Rounds Does an NCAA Tournament Have?

After the in-play of the First Four rounds is over, there are six more rounds of the NCAA tournaments.

The first official round of the tournament is called the Round of 64, and like the name suggests 64 teams compete in this stage of the NCAA tournaments. After all of the games from this round end, starts Round of 32 where there are 32 teams.

march madness 2023 teams

The third round of the tournament are the regional semifinals better known as Sweet 16 followed by the regional finals of the Elite Eight.

After the Elite Eight stage of the tournament is over, the winners qualify for the national semifinals, better known as the Final Four. The sixth and final round of the NCAA tournament is the national championship game.

Where Can I Download a March Madness 2023 Bracket?

You can download the 2023 March Madness bracket here and test your NCAA knowledge by filling it out before the tournament starts.

But don’t feel bad if you make a mistake, even though around 70 million brackets are filled each year, per official records, in the history of the NCAA tournament no one has ever filled a perfect one.

The odds of filling out a perfect NCAA bracket are around 1 in 120.6 billion for those who know a thing or two about college basketball and much higher for those who are not familiar with NCAA basketball.

If you want to test your knowledge against other NCAA fans, you can fill out an NCAA madness bracket online for everyone to see at

How to Bet On The NCAA Tournament

If you are an experienced bettor who is looking to make some money during March Madness or only a casual fan who wants to feel an additional rush when watching a game, here are some of the things that you will want to take into consideration when placing bets on the NCAA Tournament

First Round Upsets

In the history of the NCAA tournament, the 16th seeded team has only once unseated a top seed. This happened in the 2018 NCAA tournament when the University of Maryland–Baltimore County Retrievers defeated the University of Virginia 74 to 54.

To this day this is considered the biggest upset in March Madness history.

Lowest Ranking Team to Win the Tournament

If you have been following March Madness for some time, you have probably seen a fair share of upsets and this might lead you to believe that anyone can win the NCAA tournament.

ncaa madness bracket

And while each year we see a bunch of favorites lose games they were supposed to win, you will be surprised to hear that the lowest-seeded team to win the tournament was the Villanova in 1985 when they were the 8th seed.

Most Predictable Final Four Ever

Only one time in the history of the NCAA tournament have all four top-seeded teams qualified for the Final Four, this happened in 2008 when Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and Memphis made their way to the best four college teams in the country.

Unlucky Number 5

Another interesting fact when it comes to the NCAA seeds is that no number 5 seeded team in the history of the tournament has won the championship.

Furthermore, only three 5 seeded teams have made it to the championship game (Butler, Indiana, Florida) but none of them have managed to go all the way.

March Madness Final Four Most Memorable Games

  • 1979 NCAA Championship Game – Michigan State 75, Indiana State 64

The 1979 NCAA Championship game is the highest television-rated college game ever. It features two of the best players in the country, Michigan State’s Magic Johnson and Indiana State’s Larry Bird going head-to-head.

  • 1983 NCAA Championship Game – NC State 54, Houston 52

North Carolina ended one of the most historic runs in the history of the NCAA tournament with a game-winning alley-oop slam dunk by Lorenzo Charles.

  • 1985 NCAA Championship Game – Villanova 66, Georgetown 64

The 8th seed Villanova Wildcats shock the defending national champions Georgetown to become the lowest-seeded team ever to win the NCAA Championship.

  • 1993 NCAA Championship Game – North Carolina 77, Michigan 71

Down 73-71 and facing a double team, Michigan’s star forward Chris Webber called a timeout only to realize his team didn’t have any. This earned him a technical foul and the title ended up in the hands of the Tar Heels.

  • 2008 NCAA Championship Game – Kansas 75, Memphis 68

Memphis led by 9 with two minutes on the clock, but Kansas managed to cut the difference to 2 points with 10 seconds left in the game, then they fouled Derrick Rose who hit one free throw to make it 63-60.

Kansas’ point guard Mario Chalmers has a heroic three-pointer to send the game to overtime, where they secured their first championship since 1988.

  • 2016 NCAA Championship Game – Villanova 77, North Carolina 74

North Carolina climbed back from a 10-point deficit but Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit a buzzer-beater three-pointer to give the Wildcats their second-ever title.

2023 NCAA March Madness Early Rankings

On February 18th, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee unveiled their early rankings on CBS, and as expected, the number one college team in the US at the moment is Alabama Crimson Tide followed but Houston and Purdue.

  1. Alabama
  2. Houston
  3. Purdue
  4. Kansas
  5. Texas
  6. Zona
  7. Baylor
  8. UCLA
  9. Tenn
  10. Virginia
  11. Iowa State
  12. Kansas State
  13. Indiana
  14. Marquette
  15. Gonzaga
  16. Xavier

South Region:

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Baylor (7)
  3. Virginia (10)
  4. Indiana (13)

Midwest Region:

  1. Houston (2)
  2. Texas (5)
  3. Tennessee (9)
  4. Xavier (16)

West Region:

  1. Kansas (4)
  2. Arizona (6)
  3. Kansas St (12)
  4. Gonzaga (15)

East Region:

  1. Purdue (3)
  2. UCLA (8)
  3. Iowa St (11)
  4. Marquette (14)

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