March Madness: Facts and Myths Surrounding the NCAA Tournament

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NCAA Wilson basketballs

The squeal of athletic shoes. The nothing but net free throws. The Sweet Sixteens’ and the Cinderella Darlings. March Madness is here and only the best of the best will end up in the Final Four to compete for the NCAA title. Surrounding this annual event are myths, facts, stats, odds and bracket challenges—let’s get rolling.

March Madness Facts to Surprise You

NCAA LogoThere are rules for NCAA members including:

  • The institution must be a four-year college or a two-year “upper-level” accredited university—two-year colleges must be approved by NCAA regional auditors.
  • Of the 1,300 approved colleges, only 1,062 are active in the NCAA race for the title.
  • There are three NCAA divisions based on number of collegiate sponsored sports (not just hoops) offered for both men and women and scholarships for top Division I colleges must be available.
  • NCAA selection committees choose teams for March Madness based on how they rank in national polls, their conference record, away game record, number of wins versus their opponents and how they finish the season.

The Myths Behind March Madness

Basketball pictogramThe popularity of this time of the year has also spawned some enticing myths:

  • It’s not true that mediocre teams never make it in—with 68 spots and 31 of those spots going to conference champs, that leaves 37 spots for lesser-known teams.
  • A definite presence of a Cinderella teams isn’t a reality anymore. While some will play all the way into the Sweet Sixteen and maybe the Final Four or championship game, with summer leagues at an all-time high, many players are prepared, driven and athletically able to team up with champs.

March Madness Betting Strategies

Barack Obama, 2009 NCAA Men's Div I Tournament bracketEach year, you can find plenty of free March Madness Mayhem bracket forms where fans pick their teams all the way to the championship game.

Picking winners and betting on the right teams means taking an in depth look into the stats and betting odds for each team.

Bets can easily be placed online but before you do, make sure you check a few website offering odds and team statistics. There are plenty online places to aid you in not only betting but resource tools, stats and yes, player injuries.

March Madness Betting Must-Haves

Basketball positionsIf you’re superstitious and wear your college colors or favorite team hat when filling out your March Madness bracket, you’re not alone. Still, with selecting and betting there are some facts and myths:

  • It’s a myth if you fill out the bracket reverse alphabetically, you will always win.
  • Gambling may not be legal in all states, but online venues make it easy, safe (and legal) to place your bets for March Madness.
  • Betting on one game or one round of games doesn’t necessarily bring large payoffs—the longer you stay in, the better chance to increase your purse.
  • Researching handicaps will increase your overall chances when placing bets.
  • Sportscasters have their favorites too; don’t rely on their input alone.
images via Wikimedia Commons, currentnoblesville



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