How many teams are in the March Madness field? Selection Sunday is upon us, and 68 teams will receive an invite to the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA Tournament selection process keeps even the most casual college basketball fans interested once the calendar turns to March. ‘First 4 byes’, ‘last 4 in’, ‘first 4 out’ and ‘next 4 out’ are phrases we’ve become far too familiar with, not to mention the bubble.
Joe Lunardi is a household name thanks to his bracketology expertise. Lunardi spends the entire season watching college basketball, looking at various ratings systems to decide who the committee will place in the 68-team field, and where. It’s easier said than done, and fans and alumni are frequently some of the more rabid supporters in all of sports. Good luck making them happy.
How many teams are in March Madness?
68 teams make the March Madness field, recently expanded from the 64-team bracket which started in 1985. The four extra teams meet in Dayton, typically the ‘Last 4 In’, and play each other for the right to advance to the first round, where they will surely be an underdog.
In terms of the NCAA Tournament, the more teams the better. Upsets are never obvious, and picking a perfect bracket is damn near impossible.
The process of selecting the field of 68 is a difficult one. First, the committee picks the best 36 teams, automatic qualifiers notwithstanding. Then, add in the automatic qualifiers and fill out the rest of the field with at-large invites.
There’s no limit to how many at-large bids can be given. Bid stealers, or teams which won their conference tournaments that otherwise wouldn’t have made March Madness, often knock a team off the bubble.
The process of picking teams for the tournament is a complicated one, and it often comes with controversy.