The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball. The tournament, organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the brainchild of Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen. Held mostly in March, it is known informally as March Madness or the Big Dance, and has become one of the most prominent annual sporting events in the United States. The NCAA has credited Bob Walsh of the Seattle Organizing Committee for starting the March Madness celebration in 1984.
The tournament teams include champions from 31 Division I conferences (which receive automatic bids), and 37 teams which are awarded at-large berths. These "at-large" teams are chosen by an NCAA selection committee, as detailed below. The 68 teams are divided into four regions and organized into a single elimination "bracket", which predetermines, when a team wins a game, which team it will face next. Each team is "seeded", or ranked, within its region. After an initial four games between eight lower-seeded teams, the tournament takes place over the course of three weekends, at pre-selected neutral sites around the United States. Lower-seeded teams are placed in the bracket against higher seeded teams. Each weekend cuts three-fourths of the teams, from a Round of 64, to a "Sweet Sixteen", to a "Final Four"; the Final four is usually played on the first weekend in April. These four teams, one from each region, battle it out in one destination for the national championship.
The tournament has been at least partially televised since 1969. Today, the games are covered by CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV under the NCAA March Madness brand. In 2012, all games are available for viewing nationwide. As television coverage has grown, so too has the tournament's popularity and place in American culture. Today, millions of Americans "fill out a bracket", predicting winners of all 67 games.
With 11 national titles, UCLA holds the record for the most NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships; John Wooden coached UCLA to 10 of its 11 titles. The University of Kentucky is second, with 8 national titles, while Indiana University and the University of North Carolina are tied for third with 5 national titles. 2010 champion Duke University ranks fifth with 4 national titles.
Read more about NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship: Current Tournament Format
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