The NCAA men's basketball tournament championship for the division I is held every year in March. It is on of the most watched sports event in the U.S. March Madness is the term used for the tournament.
The NCAA establishes the rules for the participating teams. The colleges are organized into three divisions: division I, division II and division III.
65 teams are selected for the tournament.
1. 31 teams get an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament.
2. 34 teams are selected by the NCAA Selection Committee based on computer rankings, polls, conference results, non conference results and other data.
NCAA men's basketball tournament is split into 4 regions. Teams are seeded 1-16 in each region. The best team in each region plays the #16 team, the second best team plays the #15 team and so on.
The playing schedule is as follows:
1. Two teams play in the opening round. These are the two lowest seeded teams that qualified by winning their tournament championships. The winner is then placed in one of the four regions and plays the top seed in that region.
2. Sixty four teams play in the first round. Generally teams perform according to their seeding. But sometimes, a low seeded team teams. That team gets to be known as the tournament Cinderella.
3. The 16 second round winners advance to the regional competition. The 16 winners are known as the Sweet Sixteen.
4. After the second weekend the Final Four teams are determined. These are the winners of each region.
The tournament is played over a period of three weeks, beginning usually on the third Thursday of March. The semifinals are played during the third week on Saturday and the national championship is played on Monday.