College basketball is the primary path to the NBA for several talented athletes. Upon completing high school, budding basketball players join a university in hopes of shaping their careers professionally.
College basketball is currently governed by a list of collegiate athletic bodies that include National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and a few other organizations.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is one of the primary organizations that govern college athletics for over 1,200 institutions across the United States and Canada.
NCAA stands as an organizer of college tournaments, which helps various students register their talent on a grand stage. Due to the overwhelming number of institutions emerging with respect to basketball and other major sports, the NCAA adopted the three-division structure in 1973.
Thus, there are Divisions I, II, and III that subdivide NCAA College Basketball teams. Moreover, the most enthralling tournament when it comes to college basketball is the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball tournament was founded in 1939 by Ohio State coach Harold Olsen. The tournament is often played during March and hence, it has been branded “March Madness,” a yearly tournament that decides the national college champion!
The single-elimination tournament features 68 of the best college basketball teams from the 32 conferences that comprise NCAA’s Division I. Winners from each conference receive an automatic bid for the tournament, while the other 36 teams are awarded “at-large berths.”
The venues are pre-determined and the competing teams are seeded and split into four regions and organized into a single-elimination bracket. The University of North Carolina has the honor of receiving the most #1 seeds in the tournament with 17 to date.
As the games commence, teams get filtered, which is then followed by “Sweet Sixteen,” “Elite Eight,” and the coveted “Final Four.”
It is a well-structured tournament, as the Final Four teams will each represent one region (East, South, Midwest, and West) to determine the national champion.
Likewise, there is a similar tournament held for women with almost the same structure: 64 teams participate and a special committee will decide the participants for each edition.
Winning the national title is a daunting task. 64 teams enter the tournament with the same goal in mind, but only one can be crowned champion towards the end. With that said, the UCLA Bruins Men’s Basketball Team has won 11 national titles to date, the most by any school.
UCLA’s most recent victory came in 1995 when the Bruins beat Arkansas Razorbacks. Furthermore, here is a list of the Top 5 teams with the most NCAA Division I championships in history:
|11||1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995|
1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012
|6||1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017|
1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015
1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987
The initial dates for the season had to be pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several tournaments that are scheduled to begin in the coming weeks, tentatively. The Division I men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to begin on November 25.
The conferences that comprise the governing bodies organize various tournaments, and the schedules are dropping in with regard to the restrictions that are in place. More information can be found on the NCAA website.
The organization has released the schedule for the highly anticipated “March Madness,” that is set to take place in 2021.
|First Four|| |
|Second Round|| |
|Elite Eight|| |
|National Championship|| |
A lot of the aspects remain the same when comparing college basketball and the NBA. However, minor differences set these two leagues apart, which might affect the flow when watching an NBA game versus an NCAA game.
The first difference is that NBA games are played under four quarters of 12 minutes each. But college basketball is just two halves, and each half is 20 minutes long. This reduces the game time by a small margin, but athletes have to endure a longer half.
Moreover, there is also a major difference in the shot clock. The modern shot clock in the NBA is 24 seconds, while the NCAA allows 30 seconds for men’s basketball.
The distance from the three-point line to the backboard differs in the NBA and college basketball as well. The NBA’s three-point line traditionally measures 23 feet 9 inches at the top of the circle and 22 feet in the corners. However, this is not the case when it comes to the NCAA.
Starting from the 2019/20 season, NCAA adopted FIBA’s three-point line measurements which stand at 22 feet, 1¾ inches at the top of the circle, and 21 feet 8 inches at the corners. Besides these, there is a list of rules that differ between the NBA and NCAA. Click here to learn more.