basketball-men-d1 flag

Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | December 4, 2019

March Madness bracketology: The ultimate guide

Everything you need to know about March Madness

College basketball returned Nov. 5, a date that now feels like forever ago. But only a month has passed in the 2019-20 season and its been ripe with highlights ranging from buzzer-beating game-winners to improbable upsets. Still, if November seems far, then where does that leave March?

While some college basketball die-hards might be under the impression that it is lightyears away, Selection Sunday is much closer. Right around 100 days actually.

TOURNAMENT EXPLAINED: What is the history of March Madness and how does it work?

Every February and March, a certain area of study takes over basketball — bracketology. On this page, we'll take a closer look at the full scope of bracketology: What it is, what you need to know about the bracket itself, and updating predictions for the entire NCAA tournament field from NCAA.com basketball expert Andy Katz.

What is bracketology?

Bracketology is the practice of predicting the field and seeding for all 68 teams in the NCAA tournament and/or the outcomes for all games in the tournament. It is a made-up "-ology", sadly, so don't change your major just yet.

How does the NCAA tournament bracket work?

The modern NCAA tournament consists of 68 teams, playing in a single-elimination tournament. 

All 68 of these teams are seeded based on their skill level. Seeding is an official ranking compiled by the tournament's Selection Committee — a 10-member group of school and conference administrators responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field. The results of this process are revealed to the public on Selection Sunday, when the full bracket is announced.

SELECTION COMMITTEE: What is the committee's role, and who is on it?

There are two types of seeding in the modern tournament. 

First is the region seed, which is most often what people are referring to when they mention a team's seed. The NCAA tournament bracket is split into four regions that correspond to the locations in the United States where the opening rounds are played: East, West, Midwest, and South. Each region has 16 teams, which are each ranked 1 (the highest) through 16 (the lowest).

Second is the overall seed, which ranks each of the 68 teams in the tournament 1 (the highest) through 68 (the lowest). This is used to help determine which seeds are placed in which regions. For fairness, the committee tries not to place the best 1 seed in the same region as the best 2 seed, and so on.

This process serves to reward better teams with easier routes to the championship and also spreads the best teams throughout the bracket so that no region is unfairly lopsided and competition is as fair as possible.

Bracketology usually involves college basketball analysts predicting how this seeding process will play out, creating a mock bracket.

What does this year’s bracket look like?

Here’s what this year’s bracket looks like (click or tap here to open it as a .PDF):

The 2020 NCAA bracket for March Madness.

 

2020 NCAA Tournament Schedule And Venues

So, when does all this actually happen? Here is the full schedule for 2019's NCAA tournament:

2020 NCAA tournament schedule and locations:

Dates Round City, STATE Host(s) Facility
March 15 Selection Sunday N/A N/A N/A
March 17-18 First Four Dayton, OH University of Dayton UD Arena
March 19/21 1st/2nd Rounds Albany, NY Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Times Union Center
March 19/21 1st/2nd Rounds Spokane, WA University of Idaho Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
March 19/21 1st/2nd Rounds St. Louis, MO Missouri Valley Conference Enterprise Center
March 19/21 1st/2nd Rounds Tampa, FL University of South Florida Amalie Arena
March 20/22 1st/2nd Rounds Greensboro, NC Atlantic Coast Conference Greensboro Coliseum
March 20/22 1st/2nd Rounds Omaha, NE Creighton University CenturyLink Center Omaha
March 20/22 1st/2nd Rounds Sacramento, CA Sacramento State University Golden 1 Center
March 20/22 1st/2nd Rounds Cleveland, OH Mid-American Conference/Cleveland State Quicken Loans Arena
March 26/28 Midwest Regional Indianapolis, IN Horizon League/IUPUI Lucas Oil Stadium
March 26/28 West Regional Los Angeles, CA Pepperdine University STAPLES Center
March 27/29 South Regional Houston, TX University of Houston Toyota Center
March 27/29 East Regional New York, NY St. John’s University/Big East Conference Madison Square Garden
April 4/6 Final Four Atlanta, GA Georgia Institute of Technology Mercedes-Benz Stadium

How can you watch 2020 NCAA Tournament games?

Every single March Madness game will be broadcast on either TBS, TNT, TruTV or CBS. You can also stream every game on March Madness Live

How can you get involved in bracketology?

By filling out a bracket! Our Bracket Challenge Game, the official bracket game of the NCAA, opens immediately after the committee announces the field on Selection Sunday, and you can try your hand at predicting who will win each game of the tournament.

The brackets will lock on that Thursday, before the first game of the first round begins, so get your picks in before then. How hard is filling out a bracket? Well no one has ever gotten a perfect bracket, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

Latest bracketology predictions:

NCAA.com's Andy Katz filed almost a dozen bracket predictions throughout the 2018-19 season. In his final prediction before Selection Sunday, he got 67 of the 68 teams correct.

Katz will be filling out those predictions again this year. Here's a look at his bracket roughly 100 days to Selection Sunday.

The 2020 NCAA bracket predicted, 100 days to Selection Sunday

Through one month of games, Selection Sunday is about 100 days away. With the countdown on, Katz has an updated prediction of the 68-team field as of Dec. 3, 2019.

100 DAYS TO GO: Important things to note from Katz's latest bracket

So let's take a look at his  picks for the 2019-20 season. Here's how Katz predicts the bracket will shape up 100 days to Selection Sunday. Click or tap here for high-resolution image of the bracket.

ANDY KATZ'S 2020 MEN'S BASKETBALL BRACKET PREDICTION, AS OF DEC. 3, 2019.

And here’s that same bracket in table form:

SEED MIDWEST WEST SOUTH EAST
1 Michigan Louisville Kansas Virginia
16 Lafayette Grambling/Bethune-Cookman Wright State Sacred Heart/Campbell
         
2 North Carolina Gonzaga Ohio State Maryland
15 Sacramento State South Dakota UMKC Rider
         
3 Kentucky Michigan State Duke Auburn
14 Hawaii Hofstra Harvard Texas State
         
4 Baylor Arizona Florida State Oregon
13 Belmont UTEP Bowling Green UNCG
         
5 Seton Hall West Virginia Colorado Dayton
12 Richmond/BYU Liberty Vermont Northern Iowa
         
6 Washington Oklahoma State Tennessee Memphis
11 Iowa State Mississippi State Stephen F. Austin Texas Tech/USC
         
7 Saint Mary's San Diego State Florida Texas
10 Purdue Penn State VCU Butler
         
8 Temple Xavier Utah State Villanova
9 DePaul Arkansas Marquette Oklahoma

KATZ'S CRYSTAL BALL: 20 predictions for the 2020 NCAA tournament

Just missing the cut

Katz went beyond the field of 68 to make some predictions on the bubble for the upcoming season.

First Four out:

Indiana
LSU
Wichita State
Arizona State

Andy Katz's field of 68

Here is Katz’s full seed list in order:

RANK TEAM SEED CONFERENCE
1 Michigan (AQ) 1 Big Ten
2 Kansas (AQ) 1 Big 12
3 Virginia (AQ) 1 ACC
4 Louisville 1 ACC
5 Maryland 2 Big Ten
6 Ohio State 2 Big Ten
7 Gonzaga (AQ) 2 WCC
8 North Carolina 2 ACC
9 Duke 3 ACC
10 Kentucky 3 SEC
11 Michigan State 3 Big Ten
12 Auburn (AQ) 3 SEC
13 Arizona (AQ) 4 Pac-12
14 Baylor 4 Big 12
15 Florida State 4 ACC
16 Oregon 4 Pac-12
17 Seton Hall (AQ) 5 Big East
18 Dayton (AQ) 5 Atlantic 10
19 West Virginia 5 Big 12
20 Colorado 5 Pac-12
21 Tennessee 6 SEC
22 Washington 6 Pac-12
23 Memphis (AQ) 6 American
24 Oklahoma State 6 Big 12
25 Florida 7 SEC
26 San Diego State (AQ) 7 MWC
27 Saint Mary's 7 WCC
28 Texas 7 Big 12
29. Temple 8 American
30 Utah State 8 MWC
31 Xavier 8 Big East
32 Villanova 8 Big East 
33 Arkansas 9 SEC
34 Marquette 9 Big East
35 DePaul 9 Big East
36 Oklahoma 9 Big 12
37 Butler 10 Big East
38 Purdue 10 Big Ten
39 VCU 10 Atlantic 10
40 Penn State 10 Big Ten
41 Mississippi State 11 SEC
42 Iowa State 11 Big 12
43 Texas Tech 11 Big 12
44 Southern California 11 Pac-12
45 Stephen F. Austin (AQ) 11 Southland
46 Richmond 11 Atlantic 10
47 BYU 12 WCC
48 Liberty (AQ) 12 Atlantic Sun
49 Vermont (AQ) 12 America East
50 Northern Iowa (AQ) 12 MVC
51 Belmont (AQ) 13 OVC
52 UNC Greensboro (AQ) 13 SoCon
53 UTEP (AQ) 13 C-USA
54 Bowling Green (AQ) 13 MAC
55 Hawaii (AQ) 14 Big West
56 Hofstra (AQ) 14 CAA
57 Harvard (AQ) 14 Ivy
58 Texas State (AQ) 14 Sun Belt
59 UMKC (AQ) 15 WAC
60 Rider (AQ) 15 MAAC
61 South Dakota (AQ) 15 Summit
62 Sacramento State (AQ) 15 Big Sky
63 Lafayette (AQ) 16 Patriot
64 Wright State (AQ) 16 Horizon
65 Grambling (AQ) 16 SWAC
66 Bethune-Cookman (AQ) 16 MEAC
67 Sacred Heart (AQ) 16 NEC
68 Campbell (AQ) 16 Big South

Parity at No. 1 and the new 3-point line have dominated early season college basketball trends

With parity being a massive storyline so far this college basketball season, no one is safe in the No. 1 spot. Several teams have made a name for themselves this season but consistency is a rare breed in 2019. We break down some of the most impressive wins, resumes and all the jazz that's happening behind the new three-point line.
READ MORE

College basketball rankings: Louisville No. 1 in Katz's Power 36

The Cardinals took down Michigan and Jordan Nwora continues to look like an All-American. That's reason enough to jump the Cardinals to the top stop in this week's volatile Power 36 college basketball rankings from Andy Katz.
READ MORE

2019 Big 10/ACC challenge winners, losers, plot twists

The Big 10/ACC Challenge is something like college basketball’s Ryder Cup, won this year by the Big Ten 8-6. Here's a closer look at all the numerical bells and whistles of the 2019 version of this rivalry.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners