Any basketball fan understands the incredible array of talent that is on show in the College Basketball leagues. College basketball is a sport that has become extremely popular over the years.
The NCAA tournament (also known as March Madness) is a yearly event where fans from around the country (and the world) tune into their favorite teams.
If you are new to the world of College Basketball then it can be hard to know where to start. In this article, we are going to give you a guide to the sport.
Like the NBA, College Basketball has a pre-season, a regular season, and a post-season.
The pre-season consists of 4-5 warm-up games. These games don’t count towards any tournament but they give teams that rarely play each other a chance to battle it out.
Teams play around 30 games during the regular season, ? of these games count towards their conference and the others help them to qualify for post-season tournaments.
Doing well in your conference is a good way to qualify for the high-profile tournaments like March Madness.
The post-season looks different for every team. Some states run internal tournaments in the post-season, while other teams travel to play in tournaments.
Most conferences have a conference tournament with a spot in March Madness up for grabs.
All the teams are aiming to qualify for the NCAA tournament – out of the hundreds of College Basketball teams in the USA, only 68 can qualify for the tournament.
Conferences In The NCAA
If you want to understand how College Basketball conferences are structured then you need to understand a little bit about how the NCAA works.
Each school has its own basketball team. Some schools have the same name for all their sports teams, while others have different team names. Some schools even have different names for the male and female teams.
Each school has its own mascot and colors. Schools often use these things to help them identify with one another.
Schools usually have nicknames for themselves. Some of the most famous ones are the Duke Blue Devils, Kentucky Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, North Carolina Tar Heels, Villanova Wildcats, Wisconsin Badgers, etc.
Some schools have a high enough profile that they can get sponsorships for their uniforms and stadiums.
The NCAA (national collegiate athletic association) is the governing body that runs all collegiate sports in America. The majority of schools are part of this association. There is a small group of Ivy League schools (there are no independent basketball teams in this league) that chose to stay independent.
There are three NCAA divisions, and schools get to choose which one they play in when they join the NCAA. However, they have to play in the same division for every sport. This stops schools from picking and choosing which sports they invest in – they have to give equal treatment to all.
There are 32 different conferences in the NCAAB league.
Each college is assigned to a conference when they join the NCAA. They then play the majority of their regular season games against other teams from their conference.
Some of the most famous Conferences include The Big 10, PAC 12, Conference USA, and the Ivy League.
At the end of the season, the team with the best win-loss ratio against other conference teams wins the conference.
Like many other American and Canadian sports leagues – the NBA has a yearly Draft. In which it picks 60 eligible players to join the league.
The NBA’s Draft is much smaller than most other sports – partially because the squads for basketball are a lot smaller than sports like Football. The NBA Draft only has two rounds of selection, unlike the NFL which has 7 rounds.
Any college player can declare themselves eligible for the Draft. However, because so few players are picked, many are selective about when they declare. If there are two many Point Guards in the Draft then they are less likely to get picked.
The NCAA Tournament (March Madness)
The NCAA Tournament is the highlight of the post-season schedule. It is held once a year and the winners of the tournament are crowned national champions.
This tournament was started in 1939 and has been played every single year since. With the exception of 2020 when it was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
68 teams enter the tournament – they are then split into 4 groups of 16 teams. With 8 teams playing for the 16th Seed Spot – this is known as the First 4 Round.
The teams in each group are ranked from 1 to 16. They then play another team in the Round of 64. The Winners go through and play in the Round of 32.
Those winners make it through the Sweet 16, then the Elite 8, the Final Four, and then into the Final.
You can find the best March Madness betting odds on the Final Four here.
The winners of last year’s March Madness were Baylor, it was the first time they had won the tournament. UCLA holds the record for most title wins. Gonzaga is predicted by many to win this year.