Get ready for some madness—March Madness!
That’s the nickname for the crazy, one-and-done college Division I basketball tourney that determines the top team in the nation. And this year, the men’s Final Four (the semi-final and final rounds) will play in front of enormous crowds right here in Arizona.
The men’s tourney is made up of 68 of the top teams in the country. The women’s tourney starts with 64 of the best teams.
Lose one and you’re done, which means lots of big upsets with the losing team heading home. The top team of each of the 31 college conferences automatically make the tournament, and the NCAA selection committee meets to choose the remaining 37 teams. It also pairs which teams will face each other and the region of the country (West, Midwest, South or East) they will play.
This year, Selection Sunday announcing these pairings—who’s in and who’s not—is March 12. While the University of Arizona will likely be a #2 or #3 seed in its region, losing seasons for ASU and Northern Arizona University mean they likely won’tbe part of March Madness.
As soon as the pairings are announced, fans feverishly fill out their March Madness brackets, predicting who will win each game and which teams will win their region.
The First Four, “bubble” teams that barely made it into the tourney, kick things off March 14 and 15.
From there, teams battle it out on the courts trying to win their region on the road to the Final Four. (If you fill out a bracket, don’t get frustrated—odds are about 1 in
2.4 trillion that you’ll get it perfect!)
And this year, the road to the Final Four for the men’s bracket leads to Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, where the Arizona Cardinals football team usually plays! These last three games are so popular they need a really big stadium.
The Phoenix fun includes the Final Four Fan Fest on March 31 through April 3 and a March Madness Music Festival from March 31 through April 2. Semi’s are April 1, and the championship game is April 3.