2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament Final Projected Field Of 64
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Championship week is upon us. Conference tournaments are being played across the country and by the end of Sunday, all that will be left to do is wait for the selection committee’s decisions.
In the meantime, we’ll be updating our Projected Field of 64 daily throughout the week.
RELATED:Analyzing 9 teams in play for the final at-large bids
In our final update, we now know the 16 host sites, as the NCAA announced them Sunday evening. However, if you've been following these projections all week, there were no surprises on the host sites.
The race for the final spots in the top eight is tight. Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas Tech are all very close. Mississippi State and Notre Dame get the nod for the final two spots here—Notre Dame for its ACC regular-season championship and 16 wins away from home, the most of any of the four teams, and Mississippi State for its third-place finish in the SEC.
This projection includes the unusual arrangement of South Carolina hosting a regional as a No. 2 seed, with Old Dominion as the No. 1 seed. ODU did not bid to host and therefore is not on the shortlist of 20 teams that the selection committee can pick from to host regionals. But the Monarchs rank No. 13 in RPI (the best of any Conference USA team), are 20-6 away from home, 14-6 against top-50 RPI teams and 21-11 against top-100 RPI teams. Those metrics all stack up favorably when compared to any other potential No. 1 seed.
A traveling No. 1 seed would be unconventional in the modern version of the NCAA Tournament. The selection committee has not sent a top seed on the road since 2010 when Florida State was the No. 1 seed in the Norwich Regional, hosted by Connecticut. It previously was a more common part of the NCAA Tournament, but as more schools have invested more money in their facilities, more schools have met the hosting requirements.
The race for the final few spots in the NCAA Tournament is also tight. There are more than half a dozen teams that have strong claims for the last three at-large bids. In the end, Alabama, Fairfield and Louisiana State are given the nod here. Fairfield is an extreme outlier having only played a conference schedule (which it dominated) and it's anyone's guess how the committee will evaluate it, but with the No. 2 RPI, flawed as that metric may be, the guess here is the Stags are in. Alabama and LSU both rank in the top 35 of RPI and the top five of strength of schedule. Those two numbers may carry the day.
But Ball State, Georgia, Long Beach State, Louisville and Michigan, among others, all have strong cases and the selection committee will have its work cut out for it.
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Ruston, La.|
|1. (1) Arkansas^*#||1. (16) Louisiana Tech^|
|2. Maryland||2. Oklahoma State|
|3. Northeastern*#||3. Louisiana State|
|4. Jacksonville*#||4. South Alabama*|
|1. (2) Vanderbilt^||1. (15) Oregon^|
|2. Virginia Commonwealth*#||2. Gonzaga*#|
|3. Wright State*#||3. UC Santa Barbara|
|4. New Jersey Tech*#||4. Rider*#|
|Knoxville, Tenn.||Gainesville, Fla.|
|1. (3) Tennessee^||1. (14) Florida^|
|2. Charlotte||2. Florida State|
|3. Campbell||3. Arizona State|
|4. Southeast Missouri State*#||4. South Florida*#|
|Fort Worth, Texas||Greenville, N.C.|
|1. (4) Texas Christian^*#🔺||1. (13) East Carolina^|
|2. Miami||2. Duke*#|
|3. Dallas Baptist*#||3. Liberty|
|4. Central Connecticut State*#||4. Norfolk State*#|
|1. (5) Texas^🔻||1. (12) Mississippi^🔻|
|2. Nebraska*#||2. Southern Mississippi|
|3. Alabama||3. Virginia|
|4. McNeese State*#||4. Samford*#|
|Tucson, Ariz.||Columbia, S.C.|
|1. (6) Arizona^*#||1. (11) Old Dominion*#🔺|
|2. North Carolina State||2. South Carolina^|
|3. Fairfield||3. North Carolina|
|4. Grand Canyon*#||4. Presbyterian*#|
|South Bend, Ind.||Lubbock, Texas|
|1. (7) Notre Dame^||1. (10) Texas Tech^|
|2. Connecticut*#||2. UCLA|
|3. Indiana State||3. Pittsburgh|
|4. Central Michigan*#||4. Army*#|
|Starkville, Miss.||Stanford, Calif.|
|1. (8) Mississippi State^||1. (9) Stanford^|
|2. Georgia Tech||2. UC Irvine*#|
|3. Oregon State||3. Nevada*#|
|4. Southern*#||4. North Dakota State*#|
^ Denotes host school
* Denotes automatic qualifier
# Denotes automatic bid
Bold denotes new team to field
Last Four In
First Four Out
Next Four Out
Long Beach State
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Real time updates by CBS College Hoops expert Jerry Palm on NCAA March Madness Bracket Projections
Bracket Predictions UpdatedAug 19, 11:08am
Projected Field Of 64: May 18
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D1Baseball NerdCast | Latest RPI | ETHERIDGE:Making Sense Of The RPI
Player Power Rankings: C | 1B
We’re less than two weeks away from Selection Monday, and several teams across the board continue to jockey for position. While the race for the final few top-eight seeds is heating up, we have two new regional hosts in our latest projections.
In terms of the top eight national seeds, the teams are the same, but there is some jockeying for position. For instance, TCU and Mississippi State dropped a couple of spots to 7 and 8, respectively, after tough weekends against UL Monroe and Missouri — both at home. Both teams are still in good shape for a top eight, but there are some teams to watch moving forward. Texas Tech continues to make some serious progress in the top-eight seed race. And while its conference record is somewhat problematic, the Red Raiders could eliminate that road block with a strong showing this weekend and in the Big 12 tournament. Florida, which has won five-straight SEC series, could get into the mix, too, with a series win at Arkansas this weekend.
In terms of the teams in the 9-16 seed range and hosts, there were two changes this week — Florida State and Pittsburgh are out, and Ole Miss and Gonzaga are in as Top 16s. FSU passes the eyeball test and has some strong metrics, but the committee didn’t put it on the list of 20 potential hosts because of an iffy RPI. Pitt was in the group of 20 last week, but the Panthers are down into the 40s from an RPI standpoint after getting swept at home by NC State last weekend. Ole Miss is trending upward after taking a home series from Vanderbilt, while Gonzaga swept Portland last weekend after returning from a COVID layoff. The Bulldogs have a strong RPI and did what every mid-major should do — play tough non-conference games and win some of them. Also keep an eye on South Carolina, Charlotte and Southern Miss. USM and Charlotte are a tick behind Louisiana Tech at the moment, while the Gamecocks helped their case a great deal by sweeping Kentucky on the road and getting up to 11 in the RPI. The Gamecocks could receive a huge shot in the arm this weekend by winning a home series against Tennessee.
Our updated bids by conference: ACC (10), SEC (9), Pac 12 (6), Big 12 (5), Big Ten (4), Conference USA (4), American (2), Missouri Valley (2).
FIRST FIVE OUT:
Alabama, Virginia Tech, Air Force, Iowa, UC Santa Barbara
LAST FIVE IN:
Indiana State, Tulane, Clemson, LSU, Georgia
D1Baseball staff writers Kendall Rogers, Aaron Fitt and Mark Etheridge assemble the projections
For the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse invitational, see The First 4.
In the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, the First Four are a series of play-in games played since 2011. The games are contested between teams holding the four lowest seeded automatic bids and the four lowest seeded at-large bids.
Prior to expanding from 65 to 68 teams, the two lowest seeded teams played in an Opening Round game from 2001 to 2010. All of the previous-format single Opening Round games and current-format First Four games, with the exception of 2021, have been played at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. In a first for the First Four, the 2021 edition was played in two venues outside of Ohio due to logistical challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic: Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana, hosted by Purdue University, and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, hosted by Indiana University Bloomington.
Opening Round (2001–2010)
The game was conceived after the Mountain West Conference, which had been formed in 1999 following the split of the Western Athletic Conference, was given an automatic bid for its conference champion, which made it the 31st conference to receive an automatic berth into the men's tournament. Unlike the women's tournament, which accommodated this change by eliminating an at-large bid to keep their field at 64 teams, the organizers of the men's tournament elected to keep their at-large entries at 34. In order to eliminate one of the teams to have a 64-team bracket, it became necessary for another game to be played between the two lowest-ranked teams among the automatic bid leagues.
Florida A&M (2004 and 2007) and Winthrop (2001 and 2010) were the only teams to appear in the game more than once. The 2003 game was the only one to end in overtime.
First Four (2011-present)
On April 22, 2010, the NCAA announced that the tournament would expand to 68 teams, with four "Play-In Games" beginning with the 2011 tournament.
In 2011, the broadcast media began calling these games "The First Four" (as opposed to the "Final Four"); and, also used the term "first round games" interchangeably with "opening round games." Formerly, the term "first round game" specifically referred to the first games played by the final 64 teams, not the teams in the opening round. Through the 2015 tournament, these games were known as "second round games," resulting in some confusion for those more accustomed to the round being known as the "first round" and the "second round" being used for the regional quarterfinals (field of 32). Effective with the 2016 tournament, the NCAA reverted to the traditional usage of "First Round" as referring to the first games played by the final 64 teams, and began officially using "First Four" to refer to the opening round games.
On January 15, 2021, the NCAA announced that the 2021 tournament will follow modified principles. For this year the First Four games have the overall 65th and 66th seeds, the 67th and 68th seeds, and the last four at-large seeds playing each other.
Although analysts' initial reactions to the concept were skeptical, the first game, played on March 13, 2001, was a success, and few complaints were lodged. The games are prominent by attracting viewers on nights in which no other NCAA games are played. Prior to the proposal of expansion, Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim had advocated for an expansion of the tournament from 64 to 76 teams, which would include four opening round games for all of the 16th and also added opening round games for the 14th and 15th seeded teams. The expansion of play in games faced logistical challenges and lukewarm acceptance from then-NCAA President Myles Brand and the corporate and media partners of the NCAA. However, on April 22, 2010, the NCAA announced, as part of a new 14-year, US$10.8 billion agreement between CBS Sports and Time Warner's Turner Sports division, that the tournament will include three more play-in games, which would come to be known as the "First Four."
The opening round games have also been criticized as a handicap for teams among the historically black colleges and universities. In every game from 2002 to 2010, one team was an HBCU, and at least one HBCU (two in 2018, 2019 and 2021) has participated in every First Four. However, the two conferences which are made up of HBCUs, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference, are often two of the lowest-rated conferences in the RPI, and its successor since 2018–19, the NET. Since each win in an opening round game is treated the same as a win in any other game for purposes of sharing in NCAA tournament revenue, athletic directors and commissioners of HBCU-heavy conferences often welcome the exposure and money gained.
The first Opening Round Game in 2001 was broadcast by cable network TNN—a sibling to tournament broadcaster CBS—with Tim Brando and Rick Pitino as commentators.
ESPN, which had not shown NCAA Tournament games since the early rounds of the 1989 tournament, then signed a deal to show the Opening Round Game beginning in 2002. ESPN would continue to cover this game through 2010, as the only one of 64 NCAA Tournament games not to be shown on a CBS network.
With the transition to the new CBS/Turner contract and the new First Four format in 2011, the round has historically allocated exclusively to TruTV. In 2021, TBS joined in with TruTV because of the First Four being played in a single day (Thursday) as opposed to two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The winner of the game was awarded the No. 16 seeded position in one of four regions of the tournament and next played the No. 1 seeded team of that region on the following Friday. Three of the top seeds to beat the opening game winner advanced to the national championship game and all three won the national championship (2002 Maryland, 2005 North Carolina and 2010 Duke). North Carolina was the only No. 1 seeded team matched against the opening round winner more than once (2005 & 2008).
Note that, despite the term "Play-In" game being used colloquially, the loser of the opening round game was still considered to have been in the tournament, as both teams met the qualifications for "automatic tournament entry" as stated in the NCAA Bylaws. At first, only the loser received credit for being in the game for purposes of its conference receiving a share of the NCAA Division I "basketball fund"; however, starting with the 2008 tournament, both teams received credit for playing. There was an actual "play-in" round in 1991, with six teams playing each other (Saint Francis, Pennsylvania versus Fordham; Coastal Carolina versus Jackson State; NE Louisiana versus Florida A&M) before the tournament bracket was announced; these games are not considered part of the 1991 tournament. Consequently, in 2001, Northwestern State technically became the first No. 16 seeded team to win a game in the men's NCAA tournament by virtue of the team's opening round victory.
The teams are not the eight lowest-ranked teams in the field; the four lowest-ranked at-large teams usually have higher rankings among the entire field of 68 than several of the automatic-bid teams coming from the smaller conferences. The four games are held to determine which teams will assume a place in the first round. Unlike other early games in the tournament, the teams are not matched with disparity intended. Rather, equality governs match-ups (e.g., in one game, two teams—usually two of the four lowest-ranked automatic-bid teams—might play for a No. 16 seeding in the first round, while in another game, two teams—usually two of the four lowest-ranked at-large teams—are usually trying to advance as a No. 11 seed).
While most NCAA tournament games are played Thursday through Sunday (with the final game on a Monday), the First Four games are played earlier in the first week, between Selection Sunday and the First Round on Thursday and Friday. As of 2017, two games are played on the Tuesday following Selection Sunday, and the remaining two are played on Wednesday. Once the First Four games are played, the four winning teams assume their places in the bracket of 64 teams, and must play again later that week, with little rest. The two Tuesday winners are paired with their next opponent on Thursday; and, the Wednesday winners play on Friday. With the Second Round being played on Saturday and Sunday, this scheduling allows for six consecutive days of competition during the first week of the tournament.
With the exception of 2019, at least one of the First Four winners has advanced past the First Round of the tournament every year since the format's inception. Five teams have advanced to the second weekend and the Sweet 16.VCU (2011) and UCLA (2021) are the only two First Four teams to reach either the Elite Eight or the Final Four. In 2020, the NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Denotes that team went on to win the national championship|
|Game went into overtime|
The tournament results for the First Four teams since the tournament's expansion to 68 teams are shown in the table below.
Unless noted otherwise, the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, has hosted all games.
(OT) indicates overtime.
Subsequent games are notated as round, score, opponent, and opponent's seed. For the round, R64, R32, S16, E8, F4, and NC indicate the First Round (Round of 64), Second Round (Round of 32), Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16), Regional Finals (Elite Eight), National Semifinals (Final Four), and National Championship, respectively. Scores for subsequent games are listed with the First Four team's score first; thus, a lower score first indicates a loss and a higher score first indicates a win. Wins are shown in bold.
† Played at Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana (Host: Purdue University)
‡ Played at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana (Host: Indiana University Bloomington)
- ^"The First Four of the NCAA tournament, explained | NCAA.com". www.ncaa.com. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
- ^"NCAA plans to expand tournament from 65 to 68 teams". Sports Illustrated. April 22, 2010. Archived from the original on April 28, 2010. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- ^"New bracketing principles adopted for 2021 NCAA tournament | NCAA.com". www.ncaa.com. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
- ^"Jeff Sagarin computer ratings". USA Today. April 8, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- ^Steinberg, Russell (March 22, 2019). "Fair or not, the First Four has become a showcase for HBCUs". Mid-Major Madness. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
- ^Marshall, Kendrick. "NCAA basketball committee member explains why HBCUs are placed in the First Four". Retrieved March 19, 2021.
- ^"NCAA Tournament 2001 - This play-in concept has potential". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
- ^Bolch, Ben (March 22, 2021). "March Madness: UCLA cruises past Abilene Christian and into the Sweet 16". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- ^Borzello, Jeff (March 28, 2021). "Dominant overtime helps UCLA secure spot in Elite Eight of NCAA men's basketball tournament". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
- ^Bolch, Ben (March 30, 2021). "UCLA defeats No. 1 Michigan to go from First Four to Final Four". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
Of 64 bracket field
2021 NCAA bracket: Printable March Madness bracket .PDF
Here is the official and printable NCAA bracket for the 2020-21 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, also known as March Madness. Baylor beat Gonzaga to win the national championship.
The 2022 NCAA tournament is scheduled to start with the First Four on March 15 and 16.
🚨 You can click or tap here to open the March Madness bracket as a .PDF in a new window.
NCAA bracket 2021: Printable March Madness bracket
Here is the complete schedule for the tournament, including times, links to live streams and TV networks:
|2021 NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS||LOCATION|
|First Four — Thursday, March 18|
|(16) Texas Southern 60, (16) Mount St. Mary's 52||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall|
|(11) Drake 53, (11) Wichita State 52||Mackey Arena|
|(16) Norfolk State 54, (16) Appalachian State 53||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall|
|(11) UCLA 86, (11) Michigan State 80||Mackey Arena|
|First Round — Friday, March 19|
|(7) Florida 75, (10) Virginia Tech 70 (OT)||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(3) Arkansas 85, (14) Colgate 68||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(1) Illinois 78, (16) Drexel 49||Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|(6) Texas Tech 65, (11) Utah State 53||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall|
|(15) Oral Roberts 75, (2) Ohio State 72 (OT)||Mackey Arena|
|(1) Baylor 79, (16) Hartford 55||Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)|
|(8) Loyola Chicago 71, (9) Georgia Tech 60||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(12) Oregon State 70, (5) Tennessee 56||Bankers Life Fiieldhouse|
|(4) Oklahoma State 69, (13) Liberty 60||Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|(9) Wisconsin 85, No. 8 North Carolina 62||Mackey Arena|
|(2) Houston 87, (15) Cleveland State 56||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall|
|(13) North Texas 78, (4) Purdue 69 (OT)||Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)|
|(10) Rutgers 60, (7) Clemson 56||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(11) Syracuse 78, (6) San Diego State 62||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(3) West Virginia 84, (14) Morehead State 67||Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)|
|(5) Villanova 73, (12) Winthrop 63||Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|First Round — Saturday, March 20|
|(5) Colorado 96, (12) Georgetown 73||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(4) Florida State 64, (13) UNC Greensboro 54||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(3) Kansas 93, (14) Eastern Washington 84||Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|(8) LSU 76, (9) St. Bonaventure 61||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall|
|(1) Michigan 82, (16) Texas Southern 66||Mackey Arena|
|(5) Creighton 63, (12) UC Santa Barbara 62||Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)|
|(2) Alabama 68, (15) Iona 55||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(6) USC 72, (11) Drake 56||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(2) Iowa 86, (15) Grand Canyon 74||Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|(10) Maryland 63, (7) UConn 54||Mackey Arena|
|(13) Ohio 62, (4) Virginia 58||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall|
|(8) Oklahoma 72, (9) Missouri 68||Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)|
|(1) Gonzaga 98, (16) Norfolk State 55||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(11) UCLA 73, (6) BYU 62||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(14) Abilene Christian 53, (3) Texas 52||Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)|
|(7) Oregon vs. (10) VCU — NO-CONTEST DUE TO COVID-19 PROTOCOLS||--|
|Second Round — Sunday, March 21|
|(8) Loyola Chicago 71, (1) Illinois 58||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(1) Baylor 76, (9) Wisconsin 63||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(11) Syracuse 75, (3) West Virginia 72||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(3) Arkansas 68, (6) Texas Tech 66||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(2) Houston 63, (10) Rutgers 60||Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)|
|(15) Oral Roberts 81, (7) Florida 78||Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|(5) Villanova 84, (13) North Texas 61||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(12) Oregon State 80, (4) Oklahoma State 70||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|Second Round — Monday, March 22|
|(7) Oregon 95, (2) Iowa 80||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(1) Gonzaga 87, (8) Oklahoma 71||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(11) UCLA 67, (14) Abilene Christian 47||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(5) Creighton 72, (13) Ohio 58||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(1) Michigan 86, (8) LSU 78||Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)|
|(4) Florida State 71, (5) Colorado 53||Indiana Farmers Coliseum|
|(2) Alabama 96, (10) Maryland 77||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(6) USC 85, No. 3 Kansas 51||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|Sweet 16 — Saturday, March 27|
|(12) Oregon State 65, No. 8 Loyola Chicago 58||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(1) Baylor 62, (5) Villanova 51||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(3) Arkansas 72, (15) Oral Roberts 70||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(2) Houston 62, (11) Syracuse 46||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|Sweet 16 — Sunday, March 28|
|(1) Gonzaga 83, (5) Creighton 65||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(1) Michigan 76, (4) Florida State 58||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|(11) UCLA 88, (2) Alabama 78 (OT)||Hinkle Fieldhouse|
|(6) USC 82, (7) Oregon 68||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|Elite Eight — Monday, March 29|
|(2) Houston 67, (12) Oregon State 61||Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)|
|(1) Baylor 81, (3) Arkansas 72||Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (South)|
|Elite Eight — Tuesday, March 30|
|(1) Gonzaga 85, (6) USC 66||Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)|
|(11) UCLA 51, (1) Michigan 49||Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (South)|
We tracked verifiable perfect brackets from all major bracket games throughout the entire tournament. The last perfect ones busted on Saturday. No one came within shouting distance this season of Gregg Nigl, who picked the first 49 games correctly in 2019 before his first miss.
2022 March Madness: Complete schedule, dates
Here are the dates, locations and tournament information for each round, including Selection Sunday:
|Selection Sunday||March 13||N/A||N/A|
|First Four||March 15 and 16||Dayton, Ohio||UD Arena|
|First/Second||March 17 and 19||Buffalo, New York||KeyBank Center|
|First/Second||March 17 and 19||Indianapolis, Indiana||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|First/Second||March 17 and 19||Fort Worth, Texas||Dickies Arena|
|First/Second||March 17 and 19||Portland, Oregon||Moda Center|
|First/Second||March 18 and 20||Greenville, South Carolina||Bon Secours Wellness Arena|
|First/Second||March 18 and 20||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Fiserv Forum|
|First/Second||March 18 and 20||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||PPG Paints Arena|
|First/Second||March 18 and 20||San Diego, California||Viejas Arena|
|Sweet 16/Elite Eight||March 24 and 26||San Antonio, Texas||AT&T Center|
|Sweet 16/Elite Eight||March 24 and 26||San Francisco, California||Chase Center|
|Sweet 16/Elite Eight||March 25 and 27||Chicago, Illinois||United Center|
|Sweet 16/Elite Eight||March 25 and 27||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Wells Fargo Center|
|Final Four||April 2 and 4||New Orleans||Mercedes-Benz Superdome|
2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket
Here's a quick guide to how teams earn a spot in the NCAA tournament.
How are March Madness teams selected?
There are two ways that a team can earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. The 32 Division I conferences all receive an automatic bid (there were 31 in 2021), which they each award to the team that wins the postseason conference tournament. Regardless of how a team performed during the regular season, if they are eligible for postseason play and win their conference tournament, they are selected to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament. These teams are known as automatic qualifiers.
The second avenue for an invitation is an at-large bid. The selection committee (more on them in a second) convenes on Selection Sunday, after all regular season and conference tournament games are played, and decides which 36 teams (37 in 2021) that are not automatic qualifiers have the pedigree to earn an invitation to the tournament.
What is the March Madness selection committee?
The 10-member NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee is responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field for the NCAA Tournament. School and conference administrators are nominated by their conference, serve five-year terms and represent a cross-section of the Division I membership.
How do they decide which teams get an at-large bid?
There are a multitude of stats and rankings that the Selection Committee takes into account, but there is no set formula that determines whether a team receives an at-large bid or not.
What's this thing called the NCAA evaluation tool?
The NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET, is a tool for the committee to evaluate the strength of individual teams. It replaces the RPI and was approved after months of consultation with the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, top basketball analytics experts and Google Cloud Professional Services. It includes game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin (capped at 10 points per game), and net offensive and defensive efficiency.
What is the importance of seeding in March Madness?
The men’s college basketball tournament is made up of 68 teams. On Selection Sunday, before any tournament game is played, those teams are ranked 1 through 68 by the Selection Committee, with the best team in college basketball — based on regular season and conference tournament performance — sitting at No. 1. Four of those teams are eliminated in the opening round of the tournament (known as the First Four), leaving us with a field of 64 for the first round.
Those 64 teams are split into four regions of 16 teams each, with each team being ranked 1 through 16. That ranking is the team’s seed.
In order to reward better teams, first-round matchups are determined by pitting the top team in the region against the bottom team (No. 1 vs. No. 16). Then the next highest vs. the next lowest (No. 2 vs. No. 15), and so on. In theory, this means that the 1 seeds have the easiest opening matchup to win in the bracket.
What is a Cinderella?
Much like the titular character from the fairy tale, a Cinderella team is one that is much more successful than expected. Examples in March would be Villanova’s 1985 championship run, when the eighth-seeded Wildcats became the lowest seeded team to ever win the title, knocking off the heavy favorite Georgetown.
Who has won every NCAA tournament?
Thirty-six different teams have won a championship, but no team has won more than UCLA, which has 11, 10 of which came a span of 12 years from 1964 to 1975.
Previous March Madness winners
Here is the list of every men’s basketball national championship since the NCAA tournament began in 1939:
|YEAR||CHAMPION (RECORD)||HEAD COACH||SCORE||RUNNER-UP||SITE|
|2021||Baylor (28-2)||Scott Drew||86-70||Gonzaga||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2020||Canceled (COVID-19)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2019||Virginia (35-3)||Tony Bennett||85-77 (OT)||Texas Tech||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|2018||Villanova (36-4)||Jay Wright||79-62||Michigan||San Antonio, Tex.|
|2017||North Carolina (33-7)||Roy Williams||71-65||Gonzaga||Phoenix, Ariz.|
|2016||Villanova (35-5)||Jay Wright||77-74||North Carolina||Houston, Texas|
|2015||Duke (35-4)||Mike Krzyzewski||68-63||Wisconsin||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2014||Connecticut (32-8)||Kevin Ollie||60-54||Kentucky||Arlington, Texas|
|2013||Louisville (35-5)*||Rick Pitino||82-76||Michigan||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2012||Kentucky (38-2)||John Calipari||67-59||Kansas||New Orleans, La.|
|2011||Connecticut (32-9)||Jim Calhoun||53-41||Butler||Houston, Texas|
|2010||Duke (35-5)||Mike Krzyzewski||61-59||Butler||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2009||North Carolina (34-4)||Roy Williams||89-72||Michigan State||Detroit, Mich.|
|2008||Kansas (37-3)||Bill Self||75-68 (OT)||Memphis||San Antonio, Texas|
|2007||Florida (35-5)||Billy Donovan||84-75||Ohio State||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2006||Florida (33-6)||Billy Donovan||73-57||UCLA||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2005||North Carolina (33-4)||Roy Williams||75-70||Illinois||St. Louis, Mo.|
|2004||Connecticut (33-6)||Jim Calhoun||82-73||Georgia Tech||San Antonio, Texas|
|2003||Syracuse (30-5)||Jim Boeheim||81-78||Kansas||New Orleans, La.|
|2002||Maryland (32-4)||Gary Williams||64-52||Indiana||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2001||Duke (35-4)||Mike Krzyzewski||82-72||Arizona||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|2000||Michigan State (32-7)||Tom Izzo||89-76||Florida||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1999||Connecticut (34-2)||Jim Calhoun||77-74||Duke||St. Petersburg, Fla.|
|1998||Kentucky (35-4)||Tubby Smith||78-69||Utah||San Antonio, Texas|
|1997||Arizona (25-9)||Lute Olson||84-79 (OT)||Kentucky||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1996||Kentucky (34-2)||Rick Pitino||76-67||Syracuse||East Rutherford, N.J.|
|1995||UCLA (31-2)||Jim Harrick||89-78||Arkansas||Seattle, Wash.|
|1994||Arkansas (31-3)||Nolan Richardson||76-72||Duke||Charlotte, N.C.|
|1993||North Carolina (34-4)||Dean Smith||77-71||Michigan||New Orleans, La.|
|1992||Duke (34-2)||Mike Krzyzewski||71-51||Michigan||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|1991||Duke (32-7)||Mike Krzyzewski||72-65||Kansas||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1990||UNLV (35-5)||Jerry Tarkanian||103-73||Duke||Denver, Colo.|
|1989||Michigan (30-7)||Steve Fisher||80-79 (OT)||Seton Hall||Seattle, Wash.|
|1988||Kansas (27-11)||Larry Brown||83-79||Oklahoma||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1987||Indiana (30-4)||Bob Knight||74-73||Syracuse||New Orleans, La.|
|1986||Louisville (32-7)||Denny Crum||72-69||Duke||Dallas, Texas|
|1985||Villanova (25-10)||Rollie Massimino||66-64||Georgetown||Lexington, Ky,|
|1984||Georgetown (34-3)||John Thompson||84-75||Houston||Seattle, Wash.|
|1983||North Carolina State (26-10)||Jim Valvano||54-52||Houston||Albuquerque, N.M.|
|1982||North Carolina (32-2)||Dean Smith||63-62||Georgetown||New Orleans, La.|
|1981||Indiana (26-9)||Bob Knight||63-50||North Carolina||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|1980||Louisville (33-3)||Denny Crum||59-54||UCLA||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1979||Michigan State (26-6)||Jud Heathcote||75-64||Indiana State||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|1978||Kentucky (30-2)||Joe Hall||94-88||Duke||St. Louis, Mo.|
|1977||Marquette (25-7)||Al McGuire||67-59||North Carolina||Atlanta, Ga.|
|1976||Indiana (32-0)||Bob Knight||86-68||Michigan||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|1975||UCLA (28-3)||John Wooden||92-85||Kentucky||San Diego, Calif.|
|1974||North Carolina State (30-1)||Norm Sloan||76-64||Marquette||Greensboro, N.C.|
|1973||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||87-66||Memphis State||St. Louis, Mo.|
|1972||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||81-76||Florida State||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|1971||UCLA (29-1)||John Wooden||68-62||Villanova||Houston, Texas|
|1970||UCLA (28-2)||John Wooden||80-69||Jacksonville||College Park, Md.|
|1969||UCLA (29-1)||John Wooden||92-72||Purdue||Louisville, Ky.|
|1968||UCLA (29-1)||John Wooden||78-55||North Carolina||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|1967||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||79-64||Dayton||Louisville, Ky.|
|1966||UTEP (28-1)||Don Haskins||72-65||Kentucky||College Park, Md.|
|1965||UCLA (28-2)||John Wooden||91-80||Michigan||Portland, Ore.|
|1964||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||98-83||Duke||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1963||Loyola (Ill.) (29-2)||George Ireland||60-58 (OT)||Cincinnati||Louisville, Ky.|
|1962||Cincinnati (29-2)||Ed Jucker||71-59||Ohio State||Louisville, Ky.|
|1961||Cincinnati (27-3)||Ed Jucker||70-65 (OT)||Ohio State||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1960||Ohio State (25-3)||Fred Taylor||75-55||California||Daly City, Calif.|
|1959||California (25-4)||Pete Newell||71-70||West Virginia||Louisville, Ky.|
|1958||Kentucky (23-6)||Adolph Rupp||84-72||Seattle||Louisville, Ky.|
|1957||North Carolina (32-0)||Frank McGuire||54-53 (3OT)||Kansas||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1956||San Francisco (29-0)||Phil Woolpert||83-71||Iowa||Evanston, Ill.|
|1955||San Francisco (28-1)||Phil Woolpert||77-63||LaSalle||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1954||La Salle (26-4)||Ken Loeffler||92-76||Bradley||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1953||Indiana (23-3)||Branch McCracken||69-68||Kansas||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1952||Kansas (28-3)||Phog Allen||80-63||St. John's||Seattle, Wash.|
|1951||Kentucky (32-2)||Adolph Rupp||68-58||Kansas State||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|1950||CCNY (24-5)||Nat Holman||71-68||Bradley||New York, N.Y.|
|1949||Kentucky (32-2)||Adolph Rupp||46-36||Oklahoma A&M||Seattle, Wash.|
|1948||Kentucky (36-3)||Adolph Rupp||58-42||Baylor||New York, N.Y.|
|1947||Holy Cross (27-3)||Doggie Julian||58-47||Oklahoma||New York, N.Y.|
|1946||Oklahoma State (31-2)||Henry Iba||43-40||North Carolina||New York, N.Y.|
|1945||Oklahoma State (27-4)||Henry Iba||49-45||NYU||New York, N.Y.|
|1944||Utah (21-4)||Vadal Peterson||42-40 (OT)||Dartmouth||New York, N.Y.|
|1943||Wyoming (31-2)||Everett Shelton||46-34||Georgetown||New York, N.Y.|
|1942||Stanford (28-4)||Everett Dean||53-38||Dartmouth||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1941||Wisconsin (20-3)||Bud Foster||39-34||Washington State||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1940||Indiana (20-3)||Branch McCracken||60-42||Kansas||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1939||Oregon (29-5)||Howard Hobson||46-33||Ohio State||Evanston, Ill.|
*Louisville’s participation in the 2013 tournament was later vacated by the Committee on Infractions.
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