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.
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):
2020 NCAA Tournament Schedule And Venues
So, when does all this actually happen? Here is the full schedule for 2019's NCAA tournament:
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.
And here’s that same bracket in table form:
|16||Lafayette||Grambling/Bethune-Cookman||Wright State||Sacred Heart/Campbell|
|2||North Carolina||Gonzaga||Ohio State||Maryland|
|15||Sacramento State||South Dakota||UMKC||Rider|
|5||Seton Hall||West Virginia||Colorado||Dayton|
|11||Iowa State||Mississippi State||Stephen F. Austin||Texas Tech/USC|
|7||Saint Mary's||San Diego State||Florida||Texas|
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:
Andy Katz's field of 68
Here is Katz’s full seed list in order:
|1||Michigan (AQ)||1||Big Ten|
|2||Kansas (AQ)||1||Big 12|
|6||Ohio State||2||Big Ten|
|11||Michigan State||3||Big Ten|
|17||Seton Hall (AQ)||5||Big East|
|18||Dayton (AQ)||5||Atlantic 10|
|19||West Virginia||5||Big 12|
|24||Oklahoma State||6||Big 12|
|26||San Diego State (AQ)||7||MWC|
|40||Penn State||10||Big Ten|
|42||Iowa State||11||Big 12|
|43||Texas Tech||11||Big 12|
|45||Stephen F. Austin (AQ)||11||Southland|
|48||Liberty (AQ)||12||Atlantic Sun|
|49||Vermont (AQ)||12||America East|
|50||Northern Iowa (AQ)||12||MVC|
|52||UNC Greensboro (AQ)||13||SoCon|
|54||Bowling Green (AQ)||13||MAC|
|55||Hawaii (AQ)||14||Big West|
|58||Texas State (AQ)||14||Sun Belt|
|61||South Dakota (AQ)||15||Summit|
|62||Sacramento State (AQ)||15||Big Sky|
|64||Wright State (AQ)||16||Horizon|
|67||Sacred Heart (AQ)||16||NEC|
|68||Campbell (AQ)||16||Big South|