ATLANTA - March 11, 2009 - HowStuffWorks.com, the Web site famous for demystifying the world, offers fans a better understanding of March Madness picks and breaks down the science of bracketology that fuels the men's NCAA college basketball championship tournament.
As one of the country's top annual sports traditions, the tournament, which is promoted as March Madness or The Big Dance, has grown from eight teams in 1939 to 65 today. The participating teams will be unveiled on Selection Sunday, March 15. The 2009 tournament runs from March 17 through April 6, with the Final Four showdown scheduled for April 4 through 6 in Detroit.
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March Madness is an exciting time for 65 college campuses in the United States and college basketball fans worldwide. The madness begins when 327 Division I NCAA schools are narrowed down to 65 teams prior to the tournament.
- 31 teams receive automatic bids for winning their league's tournament and 34 receive at-large bids as determined by a selection committee.
- How March Madness Works
The Racket Behind the Bracket
The tournament inspires millions of people to fill out brackets and pick the eventual champion. Prior to the bracket of 65 teams, the selection committee carefully evaluates the following criteria when matching up first round opponents in four regions:
- Rating Percentage Index (RPI)
- Ranking in national polls
- Conference record and road record
- Wins versus ranked opponents
- How a team finishes the regular season
- Learn more about the Science to Bracketology
Tournament Facts Every Fan Should Know
- A No. 16 seed has never won a tournament game.
- A No. 8 seed is the highest seed to win a national championship (Villanova, 1985).
- 2008 marked the first time that all No. 1 seeds (Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA) advanced to the Final Four.
- Additional facts
Study Up on Basketball Knowledge
Invented in 1891 at a YMCA gym in Springfield, Mass., the sport has its own lingo and a rich history of legendary stars, dynamic personalities and record-breaking events.
- Which sportscaster first excitedly used the term "March Madness" on the air?
- What part of a regulation basketball court is also referred to as "the paint"?
- Take the quiz
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