“March Madness,” also known as the “Big Dance,” is the informal name of the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, where sixty-eight college basketball teams from the NCAA compete for the national championship. First created in 1939, it’s since become one of the most famous sporting events in America.
During the tournament, the sixty-eight teams are divided into four regions and organized into an elimination bracket. Each team is ranked within its region (from 1 to 16), and the bracket determines whom a team will face next once they win a game.
After the first four games (which happens between the eight lowest-ranked teams), the bulk of March Madness happens during three weekends, leading up to “Sweet Sixteen” (the semifinal round of the final sixteen games) and the “Final Four” games in the last weekend in April.
Since the late 1960s, when the games began to show on television, basketball fans have attempted to fill out the bracket and predict the outcome of the tournament.
This year, March Madness begins on Tuesday, March 14, and ends on Monday, April 3. Will you be ready?
Getting to the Games
March Madness begins on “Selection Sunday,” the Sunday preceding the first four games. On this day, the sixty-eight teams are revealed, split up into their regions, and organized into the bracket. Over the next several weeks, the tournament will play out in various “neutral” cities across the country.
This year, the first four games will be played in Dayton, Ohio. Once those games are completed, the tournament moves on to the First and Second Rounds, which will be played in cities all over the United States: Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Greenville, Indianapolis, Tulsa, and Sacramento.
Then, those teams that defeat their opponents in the first and second rounds will go on to compete in the regional semifinals and finals, also known as the “Sweet Sixteen” and the “Elite Eight:”
Finally, the winners from each region will advance and go on to compete for the ultimate showdown: the national championship. The 2017 NCAA Men’s Division championship will be played out in Phoenix, Arizona.
March Madness Trivia
- The March Madness tournaments of years past are very different from the one we know today. From 1939 to 1950, the entire bracket consisted of only eight teams. In 1951, it was changed to sixteen teams. The bracket has slowly grown every year, until reaching sixty-eight teams in 2011.
- The NCAA proposed expanding the tournament to 96 or even 128 teams in 2011, but the NCAA’s television contract with CBS / Turner kept the size of the bracket to sixty-eight.
- The Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City has hosted the Final Four nine times. Madison Square Garden in NYC has hosted seven.
- Until 2013, NCAA rules required that Final Four games take place in a domed stadium with a capacity of at least 40,000 people. In 2009, that minimum was increased to 70,000. That left only nine possible venues in the United States able to host the Final Four, one of which being the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Looking to take your group of basketball fans to one or more March Madness games? Metropolitan Shuttle has the vehicle for you. Whether it’s a rental for a shuttle van, charter bus, or party bus for a post-game blowout, we will get you there in safety and comfort. Call us 1-866-556-3545 or contact us to get a quote and start booking your March Madness trip today.