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HowStuffWorks.com Slam Dunks the Science Behind March Madness Brackets and Tournament Facts Every College Basketball Fan Should Know

HowStuffWorks.com, the Web site famous for demystifying the world, offers fans a better understanding of March Madness picks and breaks down the science of the bracketology that fuels the men’s NCAA college basketball championship tournament.

As one of the country’s top annual sports traditions, the tournament, which is promoted as March Madness or The Big Dance, has grown from eight teams in 1939 to 65 today. The participating teams will be unveiled on Selection Sunday, March 15. The 2009 tournament runs from March 17 through April 6, with the Final Four showdown scheduled for April 4-6 in Detroit.

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March Madness is an exciting time for 65 college campuses in the United States and college basketball fans worldwide. The madness begins when 327 Division I NCAA schools are narrowed down to 65 teams prior to the tournament.

  • 31 teams receive automatic bids for winning their league’s tournament and 34 receive at-large bids as determined by a selection committee.
  • How March Madness Works

The Racket Behind the Bracket

The tournament inspires millions of people to fill out brackets and pick the eventual champion. Prior to the bracket of 65 teams, the selection committee carefully evaluates the following criteria when matching up first round opponents in four regions:

Tournament Facts Every Fan Should Know

  • A No. 16 seed has never won a tournament game.
  • A No. 8 seed is the highest seed to win a national championship (Villanova, 1985).
  • 2008 marked the first time that all No. 1 seeds (Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA) advanced to the Final Four.
  • Additional facts

Study Up on Basketball Knowledge

Invented in 1891 at a YMCA gym in Springfield, Illinois, the sport has its own lingo and a rich history of legendary stars, dynamic personalities and record-breaking events.

  • Which sportscaster first excitedly used the term "March Madness" on the air?
  • What part of a regulation basketball court is also referred to as "the paint"?
  • Take the quiz

Notes for Media

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About HowStuffWorks.com

HowStuffWorks.com is an online source of credible, unbiased and easy-to-understand explanations of how the world actually works. The site has won hundreds of awards since its inception, including multiple Webby Awards, Time Magazine's "25 Web Sites We Can't Live Without" and PC Magazine's "Top 100 Web Sites." In December 2007, HowStuffWorks.com was acquired by Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISAD) (Nasdaq: DISBD) (Nasdaq: DISCK) and became part of Discovery's digital media strategy. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., HowStuffWorks.com was a subsidiary of The Convex Group, a media and technology company, from 2003 to 2007.

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