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FAQ: The NCAA Tournament

Well, here it is. And it’s pretty much the situation we all hoped for. Following our 44th SEC Title and a brand spankin’ new SEC Championship title, the Cats glide into their rightful number one seed and prepare for the inaugural weekend of NCAA Tournament play.

But perhaps you’ve never heard of this “NCAA Tournament.” Perhaps you only learned about the stellar Kentucky Wildcats this very year, and perhaps you were surprised that there was more than the SEC Championship yet to come. You must be incredibly surprised, then — but also somewhat confused by this new, next step. For you, you fresh-faced innocents, Need-to-Know Wednesday brings you Frequently Asked Questions About the NCAA Tournament. As always, you’re welcome.


What is the NCAA Tournament?

When many people refer to the “NCAA Tournament,” they’re referring to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s annual men’s basketball tournament, which is played at the end of each regular season after individual conference tournaments. It originated in 1939 and generally consists of 65 teams.

I would like to enter this year’s NCAA Tournament. I will play in San Jose on Friday.

Sorry, but the NCAA Tournament is by invitation only. You must qualify for the tournament by at-large bid or by winning a conference championship. Many times, you will have to have a national ranking to be invited.

I am nationally ranked at my local Applebee’s Golden Tee game.

That does not count.

I am also currently ranked fifteenth among my peers in concrete sales in a national competition to sell the most concrete.

Again, this does not count.

I don’t think you realize how hard it is to sell concrete. You think you’re so good, you try it. It’s really hard.

No one’s arguing that. These sixty-five teams play in a single-elimination tournament, ranked numerically based on their regular and post-season play and advancing to rounds known as the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and eventually the tournament’s championship game.

What’s the clever, cute little same-letter nickname you’ve given to the championship game?

It doesn’t really have one.

I would like to know who will win this year’s tournament, please.

That’s very tough to call, since part of the excitement of the NCAA Tournament is the opportunity for teams of similar skill levels to play each other for the first time. It also allows smaller teams the opportunity to play against more storied teams.

But by your rationale, whoever is number one will win the tournament, because they are the best. Who is number one?

Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke.

You are a terrible counter. That’s four teams, stupid.

There are four number one-seeded teams: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke. They are the number one seeds in their respective brackets.

How many seeds are there per bracket?

There are sixteen seeded teams per bracket.

But you said there are 65 teams. You really suck at math.

One game is a play-in game to take place before the tournament begins.

I would like to go see this tournament. I will be traveling to Spokane, Washington and will be enjoying the 32 games of the first round. How exciting!

Actually, you’ll only get to see four games of the first round.

You said there were 32 games in the first round.

The first round takes place in several different cities.

I am going to need to speak to someone in Spokane, Washington about a refund. Do you have that phone number?


This is madness.

Yes. It’s March Madness.

You and your damn same-letter nicknames.

Article written by C.M. Tomlin