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It's Bracket Time!

Most sports fans know it as March Madness, but this really is the championship tournament of the NCAA men’s Division I basketball. This tournament has a long history and is filled with years of interesting games. Millions of Americans “fill out a bracket,” trying to predict the winners of all 67 games. For the first time in my life, I filled out a bracket. It will be interesting to see how I do because I really don’t know much about college basketball. I made my picks by looking at the win-loss records of the teams, places I have been, and teams I like. I think Kansas will win it all.

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The tournament is broken into four regions, which usually consist of East, South, West and Midwest but vary from year to year. The region names are usually determined by the four cities hosting the regional finals. Each region starts with 16 to 18 teams (there are four “Round 1” play-in games) for a total of 68 teams. There are two ways to get into the tournament. One is to win a championship from one of the 31 NCAA division conferences. The other is to be awarded an entry by the NCAA selection committee. Lower ranked teams are placed in the regional brackets against higher ranked teams.

From the round of 64 teams, 3/4 of the teams will be eliminated from the tournament in the first weekend as we work our way to the “Sweet Sixteen.” These teams will battle it out until we reach the Final Four and determine our champion (go Kansas!). The Final Four games are usually played during the first weekend of April. A tournament ritual, the winning teams cuts down the nets at the end of the regional championship games as well as the national championship game.

Here is some fun trivia that you might find interesting:

• UCLA has the record for the most NCAA Championships with 11

• No #16 seed has ever advanced passed the Round of 64

• The #8 seed has won the National Championship once (Villanova Wildcats in 1985 tournament)

• All four #1 seeds making to the Final Four happened only once, in 2008

• Tournaments with NO #1 seeds in the Final Four have happened only 3 times (1980, 2006 & 2011)

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