The March Madness Tournament, also known as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, is a single-elimination basketball tournament featuring 68 teams from Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Here are the ways that a team can get a bid into the tournament:
1. Automatic bids: There are 32 conferences in Division I basketball, and each conference holds a postseason tournament to determine its champion. The winner of each conference tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2. At-large bids: After the 32 automatic bids are awarded, the NCAA selection committee chooses the remaining 36 teams that will participate in the tournament. These “at-large” teams are chosen based on a variety of factors, including their win-loss record, strength of schedule, and other performance metrics.
The selection process can be quite complex, and the committee takes into account a wide range of factors when making their decisions. Ultimately, the goal is to select the 36 best teams that did not receive automatic bids, in order to create a competitive and exciting tournament field.
Once the 68 teams have been selected, they are seeded into four regions based on their overall strength. The top four teams in each region are given a #1 seed, and the tournament proceeds with single-elimination games until a national champion is crowned.
The lowest-ranked team to ever win the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness, was the Villanova Wildcats in 1985. Villanova, which was an 8th seed in the tournament, defeated the heavily favored Georgetown Hoyas, who were a 1st seed, in the championship game.
Villanova’s victory over Georgetown is considered one of the greatest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. The Wildcats’ run to the title also included wins over top-seeded Michigan, 5th-seeded Maryland, and 2nd-seeded North Carolina.
Since then, there have been several other lower-ranked teams that have made deep runs in the tournament, including the George Mason Patriots in 2006 and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in 2018, both of whom made it to the Final Four as 11th seeds. However, none of these teams were able to win the championship.
The team that has won the most NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournaments, or March Madness, is the UCLA Bruins, with a total of 11 championships. UCLA’s first championship came in 1964, and the team went on to win 10 more titles over the next two decades, with the most recent one being in 1975.
Under the legendary coach John Wooden, UCLA won 10 championships in a 12-year span from 1964 to 1975, including an unprecedented seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. UCLA also has the record for the most consecutive Final Four appearances, with 10 straight from 1967 to 1976.
Other teams with multiple championships include the Kentucky Wildcats with 8, the North Carolina Tar Heels with 6, and the Duke Blue Devils with 5.
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