NCAA Division I Basketball Championship

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The NABC trophy awarded to the championship winner

The NCAA Division I Basketball Championship with the addition “Men's” for men or “Women's” for women in front of “ Basketball ” or after the lemma in brackets, as well as colloquially as March Madness or The Big Dance , is used in the USA by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) organized national college championship in college basketball . In American usage, the tournament winner is considered the national champion.

The tournament, which has been taking place for men since 1939 and for women since 1982, takes place over a period of three weeks from mid-March to early April each year with 68 or 64 teams in the simple knockout system . The term March Madness itself is just as old as the tournament, but originally only applied to a tournament of the Illinois High School Association . The term was first used in 1982 for the NCAA tournament and has been legally protected by both associations since a legal dispute.

Although the players are not allowed to accept any money or material, apart from travel expenses, apart from food, lodging, laundry, books and scholarships , the university championship is huge business that captivates the entire country over a period of three weeks. Over $ 1.2 billion in advertising revenue was reported in 2016. In 2011, advertising revenue on the Internet alone was $ 100 million. The NCAA also benefits significantly. In fact, the basketball tournaments, and for the most part the men's March Madness, make up 95% of the NCAA's income, even if a large part of it is distributed to the member schools.

In the USA, billions of euros are traditionally bet (illegally) also among friends and colleagues on the outcome of the men's March Madness. Their tournament tree was disrupted in 2018 by the historic victory of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, seeded at 16th place , over the University of Virginia , seeded at 1st place , in the first round. But it is precisely these so-called Cinderella Stories by those Cinderella teams that make the dramatically contested March Madness so fascinating year after year , because every defeat means you are eliminated from the competition .

The Big Dance

Division I is the most significant of the three divisions of the NCAA. With over 350 the largest universities in the country belong to it. In order to qualify for the division, the athletics departments of the universities must offer at least seven sports across all genders or six for the men and eight for the women, two of which are team sports. All but two games must be played against Division I teams and a third of all games must be home games in a hall to be designated as a home. The number of scholarship holders is also regulated. Until 1956 there was no division into divisions. There have been three of them since 1973, as we know them today.

In early March will be on Selection Sunday (German: Selection Sunday ) before the first game of the tournament announced the participants of the March Madness by two ten-member selection committee. The respective tournament winners of the more than 30 regional relays of Division I, the top division of the NCAA, designated as NCAA conferences , are automatically qualified . The invitations of the remaining teams are issued according to their consensually recognized skill level. For women, the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is taken into account, which includes 25% of the victory rate, 50% of the victory rate of the opponents and another 25% of the victory rate of the opponents of those opponents. Other considerations are survey values ​​such as the rankings of the Associated Press , Conference , Away and Regular Season odds, as well as season wins over tournament participants who have already been placed.

For men, the RPI, which had existed since 1981, was replaced for 2019 by the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET). In addition to the strength of the game plan, the NET also takes into account the results of the game, the venue, point differences (in steps of ten), the quality of the competition and the difference between the net efficiency of offensive and defensive production ( net offensive efficiency and net defensive efficiency ). This efficiency is calculated by the points per ball possession adjusted to the actual number of ball possession ("game speed") and given for comparison per one hundred ball possession. These advanced statistics are used by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN). It's likely that the NCAA adjusted the formula to suit college rules and the shorter playing time. The NET was decided after consultation with the selection committee, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), leading basketball analysis experts and Google Cloud Professional Services.

Those who were not selected among the 68 best teams can only hope for an invitation to the no longer renowned National Invitation Tournament , which traditionally invites the teams with the highest points in the regular season, among others.

Since 2011, the eight recently nominated men's teams have been playing a qualifying round known as the First Four for the last four places in the tournament tree, which has 64 players since 1985. A ranking list of their skill level is created for all 68 teams. The last four teams that have received an automatic invitation play for the seed number 16 in their region, while the last four teams of the additionally invited competitors fight for a seed number according to their skill level (in 2018 that was seed number 11).

This qualifying round has not been included in the women’s qualification and only a field of 64 teams has been selected since 1994.

The tournament is divided into four regions with 16 or 16 or more teams, for which a placement within the region, known as a seed and determined by the selection committee, determines the respective game schedule. For example, the winners of the qualifying round match of two regions will be placed in 16th position and will play against the team seeded in position 1; while the winners of the other two qualifying round matches are moved to a different position according to their skill level. The further pairings are determined according to a two-S curve (2 vs. 15, 3 vs. 14, 4 vs. 13, 5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9). The fixtures in the following rounds follow the tournament tree, so that the teams seeded in positions 1 and 2 in a region can only meet in the regional finals, the quarter-finals of the Elite Eight. However, teams from other regions are assigned to the four top-ranked regional teams. In 2018, for example, Moritz Wagner's Michigan Wolverines were seeded in the western region or Alabama on the east coast.

The first two rounds take place in eight different locations and teams never play in the same location twice in these two rounds. However, the four top seeders in a region are assigned to them at favorable venues. The March Madness usually begins with the First Four just before the third Thursday in March. The two main rounds, which reduce the field of 64 teams to 32 and then 16 teams, take place between Thursday and Sunday.

The round of 16, the round of the last 16 teams, is known as Sweet Sixteen and takes place four days later on Thursday and Friday of the second week. On Saturday and Sunday, the round of the regional finals (the quarter-finals) with the last eight teams will be played as Elite Eight .

The semi-finals of the Final Four will be played on Saturday of the third week. For each team there is a bronze relief for the regional championship and Final Four rings for the team members. The final will take place on the following Monday. The women, who have a slightly different schedule, have been holding the Final Four on Friday and the final on Sunday since 2017. In total, at least six victories in a row are necessary for the championship.

In addition to a trophy awarded by the NCAA, the gold-plated wooden NCAA National Championship Trophy , the NCAA master also receives a trophy in the form of a crystal ball, which is awarded by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) becomes. There are also gold championship rings for players, coaches and team members. The runner-up receives a silver relief. Following the final, the Associated Press awards the Most Outstanding Player Award , which mostly goes to a player on the winning team. One of the most famous traditions after the final match is the cutting of the nets ( cutting down the nets ) by the winning team.

Peyton Siva with the 2013 championship trophy. T-shirt print: "Cut the Net".

Most successful universities

The UCLA Bruins of the University of California, Los Angeles could with the previous eleven victories (ten under Coach Wooden ), seven championships in a row from 1967 to 1973, the tournament most often win, followed by the Kentucky Wildcats from the University of Kentucky with eight wins. The television broadcast of the games is carried out in the USA by CBS and the TBS and TNT channels of the media company Time Warner and in Europe by the pay TV channel Sport1 US .

The University of Connecticut with its U-Conn Huskies was most successful under coach Geno Auriemma with eleven titles in the women's category, ahead of Pat Summitt's Lady Volunteers of the University of Tennessee with eight titles.

German title winners

person Year (s) University team
Magnus Pelkowski 1 1987 Indiana University Hoosiers
Christian Ast 1991, 1992 Duke University Blue Devils
Henrik Rödl 1993 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar heels
Niels Giffey 2011, 2014 University of Connecticut Huskies
Enosch Wolf 2011 University of Connecticut Huskies
Leon Tolksdorf 2014 University of Connecticut Huskies

1 Pelkowski, of German descent, grew up in Colombia and only came to Germany after completing his studies, where he played basketball as a professional.

The Austrian Benjamin Ortner won a national NCAA Division II championship with the Roadrunners of the Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2002.

The March Madness in popular culture

In episode 14 of the third season of How I Met Your Mother with the title The Bracket (German: The Avenger ), the tournament tree (English: Bracket ) of March Madness is exemplarily depicted by the ensemble trying to fathom which of Barney Stinson's exiles on was deeply hurt that it is now her mission to warn women about him. In exchange for her help in identifying Barney, Lily demands that he apologize to the Final Four .

In episode 19 of the first season of The Middle with the title The Final Four (German: Die Final Four ) Mike Heck receives tickets for the Final Four from Frankie's boss Don Ehlert, but has to let the tickets expire due to a memorial service.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Mark Trainer: March Madness explained. On: Share America — Web site of the Bureau of International Information Programs within the US Department of State; Washington, DC, March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018 (in English).
  2. ^ Maximilian Rau: Madness in March. On: Spiegel Online website; Hamburg, March 17, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  3. Howard P. Chudacoff: Changing The Playbook. How Power, Profit, and Politics Transformed College Sports. Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield, 2015: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-08132-3 (page 129, in English).
  4. ^ Charlie Zegers: Run Your Own NCAA Tournament Pool. On: Thought Co. website; New York, NY March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2018 (in English).
  5. Zach Schonbrun: Maryland-Baltimore County scores a Historic Upset. From: The New York Times (page D5); New York City, NY March 17, 2018 with articles from the Associated Press cited as March Madness: UMBC Delivers Historic Upset Over No. 1 Virginia. as corrected on March 19, 2018, from the New York Times website; New York City, NY on March 16, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018 (in English).
  6. James Murphy: NCAA Says RIP to RPI in Latest Ruling. On: 12UP website; London, August 22, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  7. NN: NCAA bracket 2019: Printable March Madness tournament bracket .PDF. On: National Collegiate Athletic Association website; Indianapolis, IN, March 12, 2019. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  8. Michelle R. Martinelli: FTW Explains: Why do No. 11 seeds play in the First Four round of the NCAA tournament? On: For The Win website; New York City, NY March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  9. Kevin Bonsor, Dave Roos: How March Madness Works. On: How Stuff Works — website; Venice, CA, March 17, 2003-2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018 (in English).