NCAA Championship 2009. Syracuse vs. Cornell pregame in Gillette Stadium. Syracuse would win 10-9 in OT.
The first Division I Championship tournament held in 1971 replaced the USILA and Wingate Memorial Trophy national title awards. As of 2016, 46 NCAA tournaments have been held. In that span eleven teams — Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Princeton, North Carolina, Virginia, Cornell, Duke, Maryland, Loyola University (Maryland), Denver and Yale — have won the national title, with Syracuse leading with ten titles (plus one vacated by the NCAA[a]). In all, 41 teams have participated in the NCAA tournament since its inception. Only seven unseeded teams — the 1988 Cornell Big Red, the 1991 Towson Tigers, the 2006 Massachusetts Minutemen, the 2010 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the 2011 and 2012 Maryland Terrapins and the 2016 North Carolina Tar Heels — have made it to the championship game, and only ten unseeded teams have made it to the tournament semi-finals, the most recent being North Carolina in 2016. Johns Hopkins has appeared in every tournament but two (1971 and 2013). The Number One seed in the tournament has won the title 17 times and there have been 13 undefeated National Champions. North Carolina in 2016 was the first unseeded team to win the national title.
Originally consisting of eight teams, the tournament field has been expanded four times, to 10 in 1986, 12 in 1987, 16 in 2003, and the current 16 (with the losers of the 2 play-in games not making the field) in 2014. The two semifinal games and the final have been played on the same weekend at the same stadium since 1986. All three matches have always been scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, with the semifinals doubleheader on Saturday afternoon and the final held on the holiday itself.
The sport has historically been focused in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, with the sport's U.S. heartland today extending from New England to North Carolina. Only six schools from outside the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic have played in the NCAA tournament—Air Force, Butler, Denver, Marquette, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. No team west of the Eastern Time Zone won an NCAA championship until Denver in 2015.
^ abcSyracuse's championship in the 1990 tournament was vacated by the NCAA. The NCAA Committee on Infractions determined that Paul Gait had played in the 1990 championship while ineligible. Under NCAA rules, Syracuse and Paul Gait's records for that championship were vacated. The NCAA does not recognize Syracuse and coach Roy Simmons, Jr.'s record in the 1990 tournament.