NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament

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NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
March Madness logo.svg
SportBasketball
Founded1939
No. of teams68
Most recent
champion(s)
Kansas (4th title)
Most titlesUCLA (11)
TV partner(s)NCAA March Madness
(CBS/TBS/TNT/TruTV)
CBS Sports Network (re-airs)
Galavisión (Spanish-coverage)
Official websiteNCAA.com

The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, branded as NCAA March Madness, and commonly known as simply March Madness, is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the United States, currently featuring 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to determine the national championship. The tournament was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the idea of Ohio State coach Harold Olsen.[1] Played mostly during March, it has become one of the biggest annual sporting events in the United States.[2]

It has become extremely common in popular culture to predict the outcomes of each game, even among non-sports fans; it is estimated that tens of millions of Americans participate in a bracket pool contest every year. Mainstream media outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports and Fox Sports host tournaments online where contestants can enter for free. Employers have also noticed a change in the behavior of employees during this time: they have seen an increase in the number of sick days used, extended lunch breaks and even the rescheduling of conference calls to allow for more tournament watching.[3] Many handicappers and pundits also offer advice for winning their own bracket.[4][5]

The tournament teams include champions from 32 Division I conferences (which receive automatic bids), and 36 teams which are awarded at-large berths. These "at-large" teams are chosen by an NCAA selection committee, then announced in a nationally televised event dubbed Selection Sunday. The 68 teams are divided into four regions and organized into a single-elimination "bracket", which pre-determines – when a team wins a game – which team it will face next. Each team is "seeded", or ranked, within its region from 1 to 16. After the First Four round, the remainder of the tournament begins the third Thursday of March, and is played over the course of three weekends, at pre-selected neutral sites across the United States. Teams, seeded by rank, proceed through a single-game elimination bracket beginning with the First Four round, a first round consisting of 64 teams playing in 32 games over the course of a week, the "Sweet Sixteen" and "Elite Eight" rounds the next week and weekend, respectively, and – for the last weekend of the tournament – the "Final Four" round. The two Final Four games are played the Saturday preceding the first Sunday in April, with the championship game on Monday. These four teams, one from each region (East, South, Midwest, and West), compete in a preselected location for the national championship.

The tournament has been at least partially televised on network television since 1969.[6] Currently, the games are broadcast by CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV under the trade name NCAA March Madness. These networks paid the NCAA to broadcast the games in 2011. The contract was for 14 years and they paid $10.8 billion. However, in 2018 that contract was extended for another seven years making it valid through the year 2032. The average payment over the years comes out to be $891 million annually.[7] Since 2011, all games are available for viewing nationwide and internationally. As television coverage has grown, so too has the tournament's popularity. Currently, millions of Americans fill out a bracket,[8] attempting to correctly predict the outcome of 63 games of the tournament (not including the First Four games).

With 11 national titles, UCLA has the record for the most NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships; John Wooden coached UCLA to 10 of its 11 titles. The University of Kentucky (UK) is second, with eight national titles. The University of North Carolina is third, with six national titles, and Duke University and Indiana University are tied for fourth with five national titles. The University of Connecticut (UConn) and the University of Kansas (KU) are tied for sixth with four national titles. Villanova University is seventh with three national titles. The University of Cincinnati, the University of Florida, University of Louisville,[a] Michigan State University, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, and the University of San Francisco all have two national titles. The tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 65 in 2001, and 68 in 2011.

Both 2020 men's and women's tournaments were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9] The 2021 tournament was subsequently played at various venues in Indiana, the first (and only) time that a tournament has been hosted in its entirety by one state.

Tournament format[edit]

A ticket from the 1988 tournament held in Kansas City, Missouri

The NCAA has changed the tournament format several times since its inception, most often being an increase of the number of teams. As of 2011, the tournament includes 68 teams.

Qualifying[edit]

A total of 68 teams qualify for the tournament played during March and April. Thirty-two teams earn automatic bids as their respective conference champions, all of which are awarded via conference tournaments at the end of the regular season.[10]

The remaining 36 tournament slots are granted to at-large bids, which are determined by the Selection Committee and announced in a nationally televised event on the Sunday before the tournament starts, dubbed Selection Sunday by the media and fans. The committee primarily consists of conference commissioners and school athletic directors who are appointed by the NCAA.

Regions[edit]

The tournament is divided into four regions and each region has at least sixteen teams. Regions that do not include First Four games have exactly sixteen teams. The committee is charged with making each of the four regions as close as possible in overall quality of teams from wherever they come from.

The names of the regions vary from year to year, and are broadly geographic (such as "East", "South", "Midwest" & "West"). From 1957 to 1984, the "Mideast", roughly corresponding to the Southeastern region of the United States, designation was used. From 1985 to 1997, the Mideast region was known as "Southeast" and again changed to "South" starting from 1998. The selected names roughly correspond to the location of the four cities hosting the regional finals. From 2004 to 2006, the regions were named after their host cities, e.g. the Phoenix Regional in 2004, the Chicago Regional in 2005, and the Minneapolis Regional in 2006, but reverted to the traditional geographic designations beginning in 2007. For example, during 2012, the regions were named South (Atlanta, Georgia), East (Boston, Massachusetts), Midwest (St. Louis, Missouri), and West (Phoenix, Arizona).[11]

Seeding and bracket[edit]

The selection committee ranks the whole field of 68 teams from 1 to 68, these are referred to as the true seed. The committee then divides the teams amongst the four regions, giving each a seed between No. 1 and No. 16. The same four seeds in all the regions are referred to as the seed line (i.e. the No. 6 seed line). Eight teams are doubled up and compete in the First Four. Two of the paired teams compete for No. 16 seeds, and the other two paired teams are the last at-large teams awarded bids to the tournament and compete for a seed line in the No. 11 to No. 14 range, which varies year to year based on the true seeds of the teams overall.[12]

Teams are placed in the closest geographical region to reduce travel time. However, teams are moved to other regions to follow several rules for ensuring competitive balance and avoiding rematches from the regular season in early rounds.[12]

The top four overall seeds are placed as No. 1 seeds in each region. The regions are paired so that if all the No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four true seed No. 1 would play No. 4 and No. 2 would play No. 3. The No. 2 teams are preferably placed so that the No. 5 true seed will not be paired with the No. 1 true seed. The committee ensures competitive balance among the top four seeds in each region by adding the true seed values up and comparing the values among the regions. If there is significant deviation, some teams will be moved among the regions to balance the true seed distribution.[12]

If a conference has two to four teams in the top four seeds, they will be placed in different regions. Otherwise, teams from the same conference are placed to avoid a rematch before the regional finals if they have played three or more times in the season, the regional semifinals if they have played twice, or the second round if they have played once. Additionally, the committee is advised to avoid rematches from the regular season and the previous years' tournament in the First Four. Finally, the committee will attempt to ensure that a team is not moved out of their preferred geographical region an inordinate number of times based on their placement in the previous two tournaments. To follow these rules and preferences, the committee may move a team off of their expected seed line. Thus, for example, the 40th overall ranked team, originally slated to be a No. 10 seed within a particular region, may instead be moved up to a No. 9 seed or moved down to a No. 11 seed.[12]

Since 2012, the committee has released the No. 1 to 68 true seed list.[12]

Venues[edit]

In the men's tournament, all sites are nominally neutral; teams are prohibited from playing tournament games on their home courts prior to the Final Four (though in some cases, a team may be fortunate enough to play in or near its home state or city). By current NCAA rules, any court on which a team hosts more than three regular-season games (in other words, not including conference tournament games) is considered a "home court".[12] The exception to this rule is the University of Dayton, which would be allowed to play a game in the First Four round in their home arena as they did in 2015.[13]

However, while a team can be moved to a different region if its home court is being used during any of the first two weeks of the tournament, the Final Four venue is determined years in advance, and cannot be changed regardless of participants. For this reason a team could potentially play in a Final Four on its home court, though this is unlikely, since the Final Four is staged at venues larger than most college basketball arenas. (The most recent team to play the Final Four in its home city was Butler during 2010; its home court then seated only 10,000, as opposed to the 70,000-plus capacity of Lucas Oil Stadium, the Final Four venue.)

Rounds[edit]

The tournament consists of several rounds. They are named As of 2011, in order of first to last:

  • The First Four
  • The First Round (the Round of 64)
  • The Second Round (the Round of 32)
  • The Regional Semi-finals (participating teams are known popularly as the "Sweet Sixteen")
  • The Regional Finals (participating teams are known commonly as the "Elite Eight")
  • The National Semi-finals (participating teams are referred to officially as the "Final Four")
  • The National Championship

The tournament is single-elimination, which increases the chance of an underdog and lower-seeded "Cinderella team" advancing to subsequent rounds. Although these lower-ranked teams are forced to play stronger teams, they need only one win to advance (instead of needing to win a majority of games in a series, as in professional basketball).

First Four[edit]

The University of Dayton Arena, which has hosted all First Four games since the round's inception in 2011 (except 2021), as well as its precursor, the single "play-in" game held from 2001 to 2010. As of 2019, the arena has hosted 123 tournament games, the most of any venue.

Since 2011, the First Four are games between the four lowest-ranked at-large teams and the four lowest-ranked automatic-bid (conference-champion) teams. Each year, the four lowest-ranked automatic-bid teams compete as No. 16 seeds, while the four lowest-ranked at-large teams compete as higher seeds, which have included No. 11, 12, 13, and 14 seeds.

First Four At-Large Seeds by Year
Seed Count Years
11 16 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015-2019 (x2), 2021 (x2), 2022
12 4 2011, 2012, 2014, 2022
13 1 2013
14 1 2012

First and second rounds[edit]

During the first round (round of 64), the No. 1 seed plays the No. 16 seed in all regions; the No. 2 team plays the No. 15, and so on. The effect of this seeding structure ensures that the better a team is ranked (and therefore seeded), the worse-ranked (and presumably weaker) their opponents will be. Sixteen first-round games are played on the Thursday following the First Four round. The remaining sixteen first-round games are played on Friday. (In 2021 the First Four was played on a Thursday and the First Round on the following Friday and Saturday.) At this point, 32 teams remain.

The second round (round of 32) is played on the Saturday and Sunday immediately after the first round. (In 2021, the round of 32 was played on the Sunday and Monday immediately following the first round.) Thursday's winners play in eight games on Saturday, followed by Friday's winners playing on Sunday. The winners are."

The brackets for the first four rounds are arranged so as to match the highest remaining seed from each round against the winner of the game involving the lowest "highest" seed from the previous round. Thus, for the second round, the winner of the 1 vs 16 game plays the winner of the 8 vs 9 game, the winner of the 2 vs 15 game plays the winner of the 7 vs 10 game, and so on.

Regional semifinals and finals[edit]

The winners, nicknamed the "Sweet Sixteen," advance to the regional semifinals and finals, which are played during the second weekend of the tournament (again, the games are split into Thursday/Saturday and Friday/Sunday). Four regional semi-final games are played Thursday and four are played Friday. After Friday's games, the "Elite Eight" teams remain. Saturday features two regional final games matching Thursday's winners and Sunday's two final games match Friday's winners. After the second weekend of the tournament, the four regional champions are known as the "Final Four."

Final Four[edit]

The winners of each region advance to the Final Four, where the national semifinals are played on Saturday and the national championship is played on Monday. As is noted above, which regional champion will play which, and in which semifinal they play, is determined by the overall rankings of the four No. 1 seeds in the original bracket, not on the ranks of the eventual Final Four teams themselves.

Winners[edit]

Titles by year[edit]

Titles by school[edit]

The following is a list of all schools that have won at least one NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, along with the year(s) in which they won their championship(s).

Result by school and by year[edit]

  •  CH  National Champion
  •  RU  National Runner-up
  •  F4  Final Four
  •  E8  Elite Eight
  •  16  Sweet Sixteen (Began in 1951.)
  •  32  Round of 32 (Began in 1975.)
    •  22   23   24   25  Round of 22-25 (Between 1953 and 1974, between 22 and 25 teams were invited to the tournament.)
  •  •  Round of 64 (Began in 1979. Fewer than 64 teams invited before 1985.)
  •  ƒ  Play-In Round (1983–1984 and 2001–2010), First Four (2011–present)
  •  N  Team won the NIT that season.
  •  N  Team played in the NIT that season. If a team has never appeared in the NCAA Tournament, their NIT appearances aren't on this chart.

For each season starting in 1979, the 4 teams seeded No. 1 are shown with double underline, and 12 teams seeded between No. 2 and No. 4 are shown with dotted underline.

# 16 F4 CH School 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 22
49 36 18 11 UCLA E8 16 16 F4 16 CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH F4 CH F4 16 16 E8 RU 32 32 N N 32 32 16 E8 32 CH E8 16 16 16 16 RU F4 F4 32 32 16 16 16 ƒ F4 16
59 48 17 8 Kentucky F4 N E8 N N CH CH N CH E8 16 E8 E8 CH 16 E8 E8 16 RU E8 16 E8 16 E8 E8 RU N E8 CH N 16 32 E8 F4 16 E8 16 E8 F4 32 E8 CH RU CH E8 32 16 16 E8 32 E8 32 32 N E8 F4 CH N RU F4 32 E8 16 E8
52 37 21 6 North Carolina E8 RU CH 23 F4 RU F4 N N F4 N N 16 32 RU 32 32 32 RU CH E8 16 E8 16 E8 E8 16 16 F4 16 CH 32 F4 32 F4 F4 F4 32 N 32 CH 32 E8 F4 CH N E8 E8 32 32 16 RU CH 32 16 RU
44 32 17 5 Duke 24 E8 F4 RU F4 N N N N RU 32 E8 N 32 32 RU 16 F4 F4 RU CH CH 32 RU 32 E8 RU 16 CH 16 16 F4 16 16 32 16 CH 16 E8 CH 16 32 E8 E8 F4
40 23 8 5 Indiana CH CH 16 16 16 N F4 E8 CH 16 N 16 CH 32 16 E8 N CH 16 16 F4 E8 16 32 32 RU 32 N 32 32 16 16 16 N N
34 17 5 4 Connecticut 16 24 N 16 23 24 23 25 25 E8 23 23 N N 16 32 N N N N N E8 16 32 N 16 E8 16 N E8 CH 32 N E8 16 CH 32 E8 F4 N CH CH N 32
50 34 16 4 Kansas RU E8 CH RU RU E8 E8 16 N N F4 F4 32 32 16 32 32 F4 16 CH 32 RU 32 F4 16 16 E8 16 32 32 32 16 F4 RU E8 E8 CH 16 32 E8 RU 16 32 32 E8 E8 F4 32 32 CH
40 21 6 3 Villanova F4 E8 16 16 N N E8 N 16 N N N N 25 E8 RU 16 N E8 32 32 E8 E8 32 CH 32 N E8 N 32 N N 32 32 N N N N N 16 E8 16 F4 32 32 32 CH 32 CH 32 16 F4
35 20 10 2 Michigan State F4 E8 E8 CH N 16 N 16 32 32 N 32 N N 16 F4 CH F4 E8 F4 32 16 RU F4 16 16 E8 F4 32 32 F4 ƒ 32
39 25 8 2 Louisville 16 N N N N N F4 16 25 N 16 16 N N N F4 N 16 F4 N 32 16 16 CH 32 F4 F4 16 N CH 16 16 32 32 16 16 16 E8 N 32 F4 N 32 E8 E8 F4 CH 16 E8 32 N
29 14 6 2 Oklahoma State N N CH CH RU F4 E8 E8 N E8 E8 N N 16 16 32 32 F4 N 32 32 E8 32 F4 16 N N N 32 N N 32
33 13 6 2 Cincinnati N N N 16 F4 F4 CH CH RU 16 N N 16 32 32 N N N F4 E8 32 E8 32 32 32 32 16 32 32 32 N N 32 16 32 32 32
21 10 5 2 Florida N N N N 16 32 N N F4 N 16 RU 32 32 32 CH CH N N E8 E8 E8 F4 N E8 32 32 32 N
25 14 3 2 NC State N N F4 E8 16 16 25 16 16 CH N N 32 CH N E8 E8 16 32 N N N N 32 32 16 32 N N 16 16 N N
17 12 3 2 San Francisco N N CH CH F4 16 16 E8 E8 N 16 E8 E8 N 32 16 16 N N
31 19 10 1 Ohio State RU F4 F4 F4 E8 CH RU RU F4 E8 N 16 16 N 32 N 32 N N 32 16 E8 N F4 32 32 N 32 RU N 16 16 F4 E8 32 N 32 32 32
37 23 6 1 Syracuse N N E8 N E8 N N N 16 25 F4 32 16 32 16 16 N N 32 16 32 32 RU 32 E8 16 32 16 32 RU N 16 16 32 N CH 16 N N 16 16 32 E8 F4 32 F4 N 16 16
27 17 6 1 Michigan E8 F4 RU E8 N E8 32 RU E8 N N N 32 32 32 16 CH 32 N RU RU E8 N 32 N N N N 32 32 RU E8 16 RU 16 E8 16
34 16 6 1 Arkansas F4 F4 E8 16 32 F4 E8 16 32 16 32 32 N 32 F4 E8 32 16 CH RU 16 N 32 32 32 N 32 32 N E8 E8
31 12 5 1 Georgetown RU N N 32 32 N N 32 E8 RU 32 CH RU 32 E8 32 E8 32 32 32 N 32 16 E8 N N N 16 N N 16 F4 32 N 32 N 32 N
34 20 4 1 Arizona N N 16 E8 32 F4 16 32 16 F4 16 CH E8 32 RU 16 E8 E8 32 16 E8 N 16 E8 E8 16 16
29 18 4 1 Utah CH E8 N N 16 E8 N N 16 16 F4 F4 N N 16 16 16 16 N N 16 N 32 32 16 E8 RU 32 32 N 32 16 N 16 32 N N
26 12 4 1 Wisconsin CH E8 N N N 32 N F4 32 16 32 E8 32 16 32 32 16 16 F4 RU 16 16 32 32
20 10 4 1 UNLV 16 16 F4 N N 32 16 32 16 F4 32 E8 CH F4 N N N N N N N 16 32 N
34 16 3 1 Marquette E8 N 16 24 N N 16 E8 N 16 16 16 RU 32 E8 CH 32 16 N 32 N N N N N 16 N 32 N N F4 N N 32 32 16 16 E8 N
24 10 3 1 Virginia N N 32 N N N F4 16 E8 F4 N E8 32 N 16 32 E8 N N N N N 32 N 16 32 E8 32 CH N
14 8 3 1 Baylor E8 RU F4 N N N N E8 E8 N 16 16 N 32 CH 32
18 7 3 1 California F4 E8 E8 CH RU N N N 32 16 16 N N 32 32 N 32 N ƒ 32 N N
28 14 2 1 Maryland 16 N E8 E8 N 16 32 N 32 16 16 32 32 N 16 16 16 16 32 F4 CH 16 32 N N 32 N 32 32 N 32 16 32 32
17 10 2 1 Oregon CH E8 E8 24 N N N N N N N N E8 N E8 N 16 32 32 E8 F4 N 16 16 N
29 9 2 0 St. John's N N N N N N N N N E8 RU N N N N 24 N N N 16 23 16 N N N 25 N N 32 32 32 E8 32 N 32 16 F4 32 32 N 32 E8 32 N E8 32 N N N N ƒ
17 6 2 1 Stanford CH N N N N 32 32 16 F4 32 32 E8 32 32 32 N 16 N N 16 N N
8 5 2 1 Loyola Chicago N N N CH 16 22 23 N 16 F4 N 16
13 4 2 1 Holy Cross CH F4 E8 N E8 N N 25 N N N N N 32 N N N N
12 3 2 1 La Salle N N N N N CH RU N N 23 N 32 32 N N 32 N N 16
2 2 2 1 CCNY N N F4 N CH
16 9 1 1 Wyoming E8 CH E8 E8 E8 E8 16 24 16 N N 32 32 N 16 N N N N 32 N ƒ
17 4 1 1 UTEP 25 16 N CH 16 25 N 32 N N N 32 32 32 32 16 N N N N N N
23 14 6 0 Houston 16 16 N 16 16 F4 F4 16 16 25 25 N 32 F4 RU RU N N N N N N N N N 32 16 F4 E8
33 14 5 0 Oklahoma F4 E8 RU N N 16 N 32 32 E8 32 16 RU 16 32 N N N 16 32 F4 E8 N 32 32 E8 16 F4 32 32 N
32 13 5 0 Illinois E8 F4 F4 F4 E8 N 16 N E8 16 32 32 F4 32 N 32 32 32 E8 16 32 16 RU 32 N 32 32 N N N 32 32
31 18 4 0 Kansas State F4 RU 16 F4 E8 E8 F4 16 16 E8 E8 E8 N 16 32 E8 16 32 E8 N N N N N 32 N E8 32 32 E8
24 10 4 0 LSU F4 16 N 16 E8 F4 N N F4 E8 32 32 16 N N F4 32 N N N 16 32
36 13 3 0 Texas E8 F4 F4 N 16 16 16 25 N 32 N N 32 E8 32 32 32 32 16 32 16 F4 16 E8 32 E8 32 32 32 N 32
28 8 3 0 Iowa F4 RU 16 32 F4 32 32 16 E8 16 32 32 32 32 N 32 32 N 16 32 N N N N N ƒ 32 32 N 32 32
32 13 2 0 Purdue RU N N 32 N F4 N N 32 32 32 16 32 N E8 32 32 32 16 16 E8 N 32 N 32 32 16 16 32 32 16 16 E8 16
24 12 2 0 Gonzaga N N N E8 16 16 32 32 32 16 16 32 32 32 32 32 E8 16 RU 16 E8 RU 16
30 11 2 0 West Virginia N N N N 24 25 23 24 RU 16 25 16 23 23 N N 32 32 N N 32 N N N N 16 N N E8 16 N 16 F4 32 N 16 16 16 32
18 9 2 0 DePaul N F4 N N N 16 25 16 16 N N N 16 N 16 E8 F4 32 32 32 N 16 16 16 32 32 N N N N N 32 N N
33 8 2 0 Temple E8 F4 N F4 N N N 25 N 23 N N 25 25 N N N 32 32 32 32 E8 N E8 E8 32 32 32 E8 32 E8 N N N N N 32 32 N N ƒ
15 8 2 0 Colorado E8 F4 E8 16 F4 E8 E8 16 N N 32 N N N N N 32 N N 32 N
15 8 2 0 Oregon State E8 F4 E8 E8 F4 25 E8 16 N 32 32 E8 N N N E8
17 7 2 0 Georgia Tech E8 N N N E8 16 32 F4 32 16 N 16 N N N RU 32 32 N N
21 6 2 0 Providence N N N N N 25 E8 22 N N 25 F4 16 N N 32 32 N F4 N N N N E8 N N N N N 32 ƒ N 16
19 6 2 0 USC F4 F4 25 16 N 32 32 N N N E8 16 32 ƒ 32 N E8
16 6 2 0 Butler N N 16 N N N N 32 N 16 N 16 32 RU RU 32 32 32 16 32 N
16 6 2 0 Wichita State N N N E8 F4 N 32 N E8 N N N N N 16 N N F4 32 16 32 32 N ƒ
7 6 2 0 Dartmouth E8 RU E8 RU 16 E8 23
6 6 2 0 NYU E8 RU E8 N N N N F4 16 16 N N N
9 4 2 0 Bradley N N N RU RU E8 N N N N N N N N N N 32 N N N N N 16 N
37 17 1 0 Notre Dame E8 E8 16 E8 25 25 23 N 25 16 16 N 16 16 16 16 F4 E8 32 16 N N 32 16 32 N N N 32 32 16 N N N 32 N 32 E8 E8 32 N 32
23 10 1 0 Wake Forest E8 16 E8 F4 E8 32 32 N E8 N 32 16 32 16 E8 32 N N N 32 32 16 32 N 32 ƒ N
17 9 1 0 Washington E8 E8 E8 F4 32 N N 16 N N N 16 16 16 32 16 32 N N N N 32
26 8 1 0 Pittsburgh F4 16 24 25 N E8 N N 32 N N 32 32 32 N N N 16 16 16 32 16 32 E8 32 32 32 N
21 7 1 0 Iowa State F4 N 16 32 32 32 16 E8 N N 32 32 32 16 16 32 16
18 7 1 0 Dayton N 16 N N N N N N N N 16 16 RU N 25 25 N 16 N N N N E8 N 32 N N N N 32 N N N E8 32 N N N
18 7 1 0 Texas Tech 24 25 16 16 25 16 N N 16 N 32 16 N E8 RU 32 16
18 7 1 0 Florida State 23 RU 32 32 N N 32 16 E8 N 32 N N N N 16 32 N N N 32 E8 16 16
11 7 1 0 Santa Clara F4 E8 E8 16 E8 E8 16 N N N N 32 32 N
25 6 1 0 Princeton 16 16 25 16 25 16 F4 16 25 N N 32 32 32 32 32 N N N N N
24 6 1 0 Penn 16 25 E8 E8 16 25 32 16 F4 32 N 32
21 6 1 0 Memphis 24 25 N N N 25 N N N RU N N 32 N 16 16 16 F4 32 32 N N E8 16 N N N N 32 N E8 E8 RU 16 N 32 32 N N 32
12 6 1 0 SMU 16 F4 16 16 16 E8 32 32 N 32 N N N N
11 5 1 0 Seattle N 16 24 16 16 N RU 24 25 25 16 23 25
11 5 1 0 Auburn 16 E8 32 32 N N N N 16 32 N 16 N 32 F4 32
9 5 1 0 Penn State E8 16 F4 16 23 N N N N 32 N N N N 16 N N N
23 4 1 0 New Mexico State N 16 23 25 23 16 16 F4 25 32 N 16 32 N N N 32
14 4 1 0 Seton Hall N N N N N N N N N N 32 RU E8 16 32 N N N 16 N N 32 N N 32
9 4 1 0 South Carolina N 16 16 16 25 N N N N N N N N N N N F4
11 3 1 0 Mississippi State 16 N N N 16 F4 N N 32 32 32 N 32 N N N N N
8 3 1 0 St. Bonaventure N N N N N N 16 N 16 F4 N N 32 N N N N N N N N
5 3 1 0 Duquesne F4 N N N E8 N N N N N N N 16 N 25 32 N N N N
5 3 1 0 Drake N F4 E8 E8 N N
10 2 1 0 Georgia N N F4 N 32 N N N N 16 N N 32 N N N N N
8 2 1 0 Rutgers N N N N 32 F4 N N 16 N 32 N N N N N N N 32 ƒ
6 2 1 0 Washington State RU 32 N N N 32 16 N N N
18 1 1 0 VCU N 32 32 32 32 N N N 32 N F4 32 32 32 N
11 1 1 0 Charlotte N F4 N N 32 32 32 N 32 N N N
6 1 1 0 George Mason N N N F4 N 32
5 1 1 0 Jacksonville RU 25 N 25 N N N N N
4 1 1 0 Indiana State N N RU 32 N N
20 9 0 0 Saint Joseph's N N 16 16 F4 16 E8 N 16 16 25 25 N 25 25 N N E8 N N 32 N N N 16 32 N E8 N N N N 32
28 8 0 0 Xavier N N N 24 ƒ N 32 16 32 32 N 32 N N 32 32 E8 32 E8 16 16 16 ƒ 16 32 E8 32 N N
24 8 0 0 Tennessee N 16 N N 32 32 32 32 16 32 32 N N N N N N 32 16 N N 32 16 16 E8 N N 16 32 16 32
22 8 0 0 Alabama N 32 16 N N N N 16 16 16 16 16 16 32 N 32 32 N N N 32 E8 32 N N N N N N 32 N 16
18 8 0 0 Boston College 24 N N E8 23 N N 16 N 16 E8 16 N 16 N N N E8 32 32 32 N 32 32 16 32 N N
30 7 0 0 BYU E8 E8 N N 16 16 N 25 16 25 32 32 E8 N 32 N 32 32 32 N N N N 32 16 N ƒ N N N N
27 7 0 0 Missouri E8 N N E8 32 16 16 32 N 16 32 E8 32 N N 32 E8 32 N N E8 32 N
22 7 0 0 Western Kentucky E8 N N N N N N N N 16 16 N 16 23 25 F4 32 16 N 32 32 N 16 32 N N 16 32 N N
15 6 0 0 Vanderbilt E8 16 N N 16 N N 16 N N N N N 16 N N 16 32 N ƒ N
14 6 0 0 Texas A&M 16 25 16 32 N 16 N N N N N 32 16 32 32 32 N 16 16 N
11 6 0 0 Oklahoma City 16 16 24 24 E8 E8 N 16 25 16 22 N 25
23 5 0 0 Creighton E8 N N 16 16 16 32 N 32 N N 32 N 32 32 N N N N 32 32 32 N N 16 32
11 5 0 0 Idaho State 22 16 24 25 16 16 16 25 25 E8
22 4 0 0 Utah State E8 N 16 25 16 N E8 25 32 N N N 32 N N N N N
17 4 0 0 Miami (OH) 22 24 23 16 22 16 N 25 25 16 N N 32 N 16 N N
16 4 0 0 Tulsa N 16 N N N 32 N 32 N N 16 16 32 32 E8 N 32 32 N N N ƒ
15 4 0 0 Arizona State 24 E8 25 E8 25 16 E8 32 32 N N 32 N N N 16 N N N 32 N N 32 N N N ƒ
15 4 0 0 Davidson 16 E8 E8 25 N N N N E8 N N N N N
11 4 0 0 Navy E8 22 E8 16 25 N 32 E8
11 4 0 0 Miami (FL) 25 N N N N N 32 16 N N N 32 N N N 16 N 16 E8
9 4 0 0 TCU 16 16 16 E8 25 N N 32 N N N N N N 32
16 3 0 0 UAB N 16 E8 32 32 N N N N N N N 16 32 N N N ƒ 32 N
14 3 0 0 Ohio N 16 24 E8 23 N 25 25 25 32 N N 32 16 N 32
13 3 0 0 Pepperdine E8 16 16 32 N 32 N N N N 32 N
12 3 0 0 Clemson N N E8 N N N N N 32 16 N N N 16 N N N N N N 16 N
10 3 0 0 Minnesota 16 N N N 16 N 16 E8 N N 32 N F4 N N N N N N N 32 N 32
10 3 0 0 Southern Illinois N N N 16 N N N N N 16 32 16 N
9 3 0 0 Pacific 16 E8 16 32 N 32 32
4 3 0 0 Rice E8 E8 N 16 25 N N N N
4 3 0 0 Canisius N E8 E8 16 N N N N
3 3 0 0 Columbia E8 16 16
16 2 0 0 Weber State 23 16 25 25 16 25 32 32 N 32 32 N N
15 2 0 0 New Mexico N N N 16 N 16 32 N N N N N N N N N 32 32 32 32 N N N N N 32 N 32
14 2 0 0 San Diego State 32 32 N N N N N 16 32 16 32 N
13 2 0 0 Virginia Tech N E8 N 32 N 32 32 N N N N 32 N 32 N N N N N 16
11 2 0 0 Colorado State 16 N N 25 23 22 E8 N 32 N N N N 32 N N N
11 2 0 0 Saint Mary's E8 N 16 N N N N 32 N N 32
10 2 0 0 Saint Louis N N N E8 N N N 16 N N N N N N N N 32 N 32 N N 32 32 32 N N
10 2 0 0 Rhode Island N N N N 24 22 32 N N N 16 N 32 N E8 N N N N N N 32 32
10 2 0 0 Richmond N 32 N 16 N 32 N 32 N N N 16 N N N 32
9 2 0 0 Nevada N N N 16 32 32 N N 16
8 2 0 0 Morehead State 16 23 16 32
8 2 0 0 Massachusetts 25 N N N N N N N N 16 32 32 E8 F4 N N N N N
6 2 0 0 Oral Roberts N N E8 N N N N N N 16
5 2 0 0 Cornell 16 16
4 2 0 0 Loyola Marymount 16 N 32 E8
3 2 0 0 VMI 25 E8 16
12 1 0 0 Montana 16 N N N 32 N
12 1 0 0 Chattanooga 32 N N N N 16
11 1 0 0 George Washington 24 24 N 16 32 N N N 32 N N
10 1 0 0 East Tennessee State 16 N 32 N
9 1 0 0 Ole Miss N N N N N 32 N 16 N N N N N 32 N N
9 1 0 0 Valparaiso 16 N N N N
8 1 0 0 Manhattan N N N N N 25 N 16 N N N N N N N N N 32 N N 32 N ƒ
8 1 0 0 Northern Iowa 32 16 N 32 32 N
7 1 0 0 Boston University E8 N ƒ N N N N N
7 1 0 0 Ball State 32 16 N N N N
6 1 0 0 Yale E8 23 25 N 32
6 1 0 0 Detroit Mercy N N 25 N 16 N 32 32 N N N
6 1 0 0 Long Beach State 16 E8 E8 16 32 N N N N N N N N N
6 1 0 0 Furman 25 25 16 32 32 N N
6 1 0 0 Lamar 32 16 32 N 32 N N N ƒ
6 1 0 0 Missouri State N 32 N N N 16 N N N N N N
6 1 0 0 Kent State N N N N 32 E8 N N N N N
5 1 0 0 Harvard E8 N 32 32 N N
5 1 0 0 Fresno State 16 N N N N N N N 32 N N N
5 1 0 0 Louisiana Tech 32 16 N N 32 N N N N N N N N
4 1 0 0 Montana State 16 N N
4 1 0 0 Fordham N 22 24 N N N N N N 16 N N N N N N N N N
4 1 0 0 Toledo N N 24 23 16 N N N N N N N N N
4 1 0 0 Lafayette N N 16 N N N
4 1 0 0 Bowling Green N N N N N N 23 25 16 23 N N N N N N N N
4 1 0 0 Central Michigan 16 32 N 32 N
4 1 0 0 Western Michigan 16 N 32 N N
4 1 0 0 Cal State Fullerton E8 N N N
4 1 0 0 Idaho 16 N
4 1 0 0 Eastern Michigan 16 N 32
4 1 0 0 Saint Peter's N N N N N N N N N N N N E8
4 1 0 0 Milwaukee N 16 32 N
3 1 0 0 San Jose State 16 N
3 1 0 0 Niagara N N N N N N N 16 N N N N N N N
3 1 0 0 Cleveland State 16 N N N 32 N N N
3 1 0 0 Florida Gulf Coast 16 N N
2 1 0 0 Brown E8 N
1 1 0 0 Springfield E8
1 1 0 0 Catholic E8
1 1 0 0 Tufts E8
1 1 0 0 Lebanon Valley 16
1 1 0 0 Wayne State (MI) 16
18 0 0 0 Murray State 25 25 N N N 32 N N N 32 N 32 N 32 32
14 0 0 0 Iona 32 N N N N ƒ N N N
12 0 0 0 Old Dominion N N N N N 32 N N N 32 N N 32 N
11 0 0 0 Winthrop ƒ 32 ƒ
10 0 0 0 North Carolina A&T N N ƒ ƒ
10 0 0 0 Texas Southern ƒ N ƒ N
9 0 0 0 Middle Tennessee 32 32 32 N N 32 N ƒ 32 32 N
9 0 0 0 Northeastern 32 32 N N N
9 0 0 0 Southern N 32 ƒ
8 0 0 0 Eastern Kentucky 22 23 23 25
8 0 0 0 Boise State 32 N N N N ƒ ƒ N N N
8 0 0 0 South Alabama 32 N N 32 N N
8 0 0 0 Robert Morris N N N
8 0 0 0 Bucknell 32 32 N N N
8 0 0 0 Vermont 32 N N N N
8 0 0 0 Belmont N N N N N
7 0 0 0 Long Island N N N N N N N N ƒ N ƒ ƒ
7 0 0 0 Louisiana–Monroe N N
7 0 0 0 Nebraska N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N
6 0 0 0 Louisiana 16 16 N N N 32 N N N
6 0 0 0 Austin Peay 16 25 32 N N
6 0 0 0 Alcorn State N 32 N ƒ N
6 0 0 0 Illinois State N N N 32 32 N N N N 32 N N N N N N N
6 0 0 0 Fairleigh Dickinson N N ƒ
6 0 0 0 UC Santa Barbara N 32 N N N N
6 0 0 0 Siena N 32 N N N N 32 32
6 0 0 0 Georgia State 32 N N 32
6 0 0 0 Delaware N
6 0 0 0 Mount St. Mary's N ƒ ƒ
6 0 0 0 UNC Wilmington N N 32
6 0 0 0 Hampton 32 ƒ N
6 0 0 0 South Dakota State N N
5 0 0 0 Marshall 25 N N 25 N N N 32
5 0 0 0 Hawaii N 25 N N N N N N N 32
5 0 0 0 James Madison 32 32 32 N N N N N
5 0 0 0 Evansville N 32 N
5 0 0 0 Lehigh ƒ 32
5 0 0 0 Little Rock 32 N N N ƒ 32
5 0 0 0 Mississippi Valley State N ƒ
5 0 0 0 Drexel 32 N N N N N N
5 0 0 0 Akron N N N N N N N
5 0 0 0 New Orleans N 32 N N N N N ƒ
5 0 0 0 South Carolina State
5 0 0 0 Green Bay N N 32 N N
5 0 0 0 UCF N N 32
5 0 0 0 Charleston N N 32 N N N
5 0 0 0 Liberty ƒ 32
5 0 0 0 Colgate
5 0 0 0 Albany
5 0 0 0 Wofford 32
4 0 0 0 Air Force 25 25 N
4 0 0 0 Hofstra 32 32 N N N N N N
4 0 0 0 San Diego ƒ 32 N
4 0 0 0 UTSA
4 0 0 0 North Texas 32 N
4 0 0 0 Coppin State N N 32 ƒ
4 0 0 0 Coastal Carolina N N
4 0 0 0 Wright State N
4 0 0 0 Monmouth N N
4 0 0 0 UNC Greensboro N N N
4 0 0 0 Alabama State N N ƒ ƒ
4 0 0 0 UNC Asheville N N
4 0 0 0 North Dakota State 32
4 0 0 0 North Carolina Central N ƒ ƒ ƒ
4 0 0 0 Buffalo N 32 32 N
3 0 0 0 Loyola (LA) 24 23 24
3 0 0 0 Appalachian State 32 N ƒ
3 0 0 0 Mercer N 32
3 0 0 0 Northern Illinois
3 0 0 0 Georgia Southern ƒ N N N
3 0 0 0 Rider ƒ N N
3 0 0 0 Fairfield N N N N N N
3 0 0 0 Southern Miss N N N N N N N N N N
3 0 0 0 South Florida N N N N N N N N 32
3 0 0 0 Tulane N N 32 32 N 32 N N N
3 0 0 0 Jackson State N N
3 0 0 0 UIC N
3 0 0 0 Radford
3 0 0 0 Florida A&M ƒ
3 0 0 0 Central Connecticut
3 0 0 0 Northwestern State 32
3 0 0 0 Eastern Washington N
3 0 0 0 Oakland N
3 0 0 0 American N N N
3 0 0 0 Norfolk State 32 N N
2 0 0 0 Hardin–Simmons 22 23
2 0 0 0 Tennessee Tech 24 25 N N
2 0 0 0 Portland 23
2 0 0 0 East Carolina 25
2 0 0 0 Howard
2 0 0 0 Marist N N
2 0 0 0 McNeese State N N N
2 0 0 0 Towson N
2 0 0 0 Eastern Illinois
2 0 0 0 Tennessee State
2 0 0 0 Texas State N
2 0 0 0 Loyola (MD)
2 0 0 0 Nicholls N
2 0 0 0 Northern Arizona N N N
2 0 0 0 Prairie View A&M ƒ
2 0 0 0 Samford
2 0 0 0 Cal State Northridge
2 0 0 0 Sam Houston State N
2 0 0 0 Troy N N
2 0 0 0 Texas A&M–Corpus Christi ƒ
2 0 0 0 Portland State
2 0 0 0 UMBC 32
2 0 0 0 Morgan State N
2 0 0 0 Stephen F. Austin N N N 32 32
2 0 0 0 UC Irvine N N N N N N 32
2 0 0 0 Northern Kentucky N
2 0 0 0 Jacksonville State
2 0 0 0 Abilene Christian 32
1 0 0 0 West Texas A&M N 24 N N
1 0 0 0 Williams 24
1 0 0 0 Trinity (TX) 25
1 0 0 0 Cal State Los Angeles 25
1 0 0 0 Houston Baptist ƒ
1 0 0 0 Saint Francis (PA) N N N N
1 0 0 0 Campbell N
1 0 0 0 Florida International
1 0 0 0 Western Carolina
1 0 0 0 Charleston Southern N N
1 0 0 0 Arkansas State N N N N
1 0 0 0 Southeast Missouri State
1 0 0 0 Southern Utah
1 0 0 0 Florida Atlantic N
1 0 0 0 IUPUI
1 0 0 0 Wagner N N N N
1 0 0 0 Delaware State N N
1 0 0 0 Southeastern Louisiana N
1 0 0 0 Alabama A&M ƒ
1 0 0 0 UT Arlington N N N
1 0 0 0 Binghamton
1 0 0 0 Arkansas–Pine Bluff
1 0 0 0 Cal Poly
1 0 0 0 North Florida ƒ N
1 0 0 0 Cal State Bakersfield N
1 0 0 0 Stony Brook N N N
1 0 0 0 Northwestern N N N N N N N 32
1 0 0 0 North Dakota
1 0 0 0 UC Davis N N
1 0 0 0 Lipscomb N N
1 0 0 0 Gardner–Webb
1 0 0 0 Grand Canyon
1 0 0 0 Hartford
1 0 0 0 Longwood
1 0 0 0 Bryant ƒ
0 0 0 0 Northern Colorado

Tournament history[edit]

Mid-major teams[edit]

Mid-major teams—which are defined as teams from the America East Conference (America East), ASUN Conference (ASUN), Atlantic 10 (A-10), Big Sky Conference (Big Sky), Big South Conference (Big South), Big West Conference (Big West), Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Conference USA (C-USA), Horizon League (Horizon), Ivy League (Ivy), Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Mid-American Conference (MAC), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), Mountain West Conference (MW), Northeast Conference (NEC), Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), Patriot League (Patriot), Southern Conference (SoCon), Southland Conference (Southland), Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Summit League (Summit), Sun Belt Conference (Sun Belt), West Coast Conference (WCC), and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC)[14]—have experienced success in the tournament at various times.

The last time, as of 2022, a mid-major team won the National Championship was 1990 when UNLV won with a 103–73 win over Duke, since UNLV was then a member of the Big West and since 1999 has been a member of the MW; the Big West was not then considered a power conference, nor is the MW today. However, during the tenure of UNLV's coach at the time, Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin' Rebels were widely viewed as a major program despite their conference affiliation (a situation similar to that of Gonzaga since the first years of the 21st century). Additionally, the Big West received three bids in the 1990 tournament. The last time, as of 2022, an independent mid-major team won the National Championship was 1977 when Marquette won 67–59 over North Carolina. However, Marquette was not considered a "mid-major" program at that time. The very term "mid-major" was not coined until 1977, and did not see wide use until the 1990s. More significantly, Marquette was one of several traditional basketball powers that were still NCAA Division I independents in the late 1970s. Also, Marquette has been a member of widely acknowledged "major" basketball conferences since 1991, and is currently in the undeniably major Big East Conference. The last time, as of 2022, a mid-major team from a small media market (defined as a market that is outside of the top 25 television markets in the United States in 2019) won the National Championship was arguably 1962 when Cincinnati, then in the MVC, won 71–59 over Ohio State of the Big Ten, since Cincinnati's TV market is listed 35th in the nation as of 2022. However, the MVC was generally seen in that day as a major basketball conference.

The last time the Final Four was composed, as of 2022, of at least 75% mid-major teams (3/4), i.e. excluding all present-day major conferences or their predecessors, was 1979, where Indiana State, then as now of the Missouri Valley Conference (which had lost several of its most prominent programs, among them Cincinnati, earlier in the decade); Penn, then as now in the Ivy League; and DePaul, then an independent, participated in the Final Four, only to see Indiana State lose to Michigan State. The last time, as of 2022, the Final Four has been composed of at least 50% mid-major teams (2/4) was 2011, when VCU, then of the Colonial Athletic Association, and Butler, then of the Horizon League, participated in the Final Four, only to see Butler lose to Connecticut. Three of the four most recent Final Fours have involved a single "mid-major" team by the definition used here—the 2017, 2018, and 2021 tournaments, with Gonzaga appearing in both 2017 and 2021 and Loyola Chicago appearing in 2018 (although by 2017 Gonzaga, which has appeared in every NCAA tournament in the 21st century, was generally considered a major program despite its membership in the mid-major WCC[b][c]). To date, as of 2022, no Final Four has been composed of 100% mid-major teams (4/4), therefore guaranteeing a mid-major team winning the National Championship.

Arguably the tournament with the most mid-major success was the 1970 tournament, where the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and National Championship Game had 63% representation of mid-major teams in the Sweet 16 (10/16), 75% representation in the Elite 8 (6/8), 75% representation in the Final 4 (3/4), and 50% representation in the National Championship Game (1/2). Jacksonville lost to UCLA in the National Championship, with New Mexico State defeating St. Bonaventure for third place.

Below is a table that shows the performance of mid-major teams from the Sweet Sixteen round to the National Championship Game from 1939—the tournament's first year—to the present day.

Notes
  • The first column is a list of every mid-major conference. For the conferences that have predecessor names, a footnote (below the table) lists those names and years. Opposite each conference's name are the schools that have appeared in the tournament from the Sweet Sixteen onwards when the school was a member of the conference or a predecessor conference.
  • Some of the conferences that are now considered mid-majors were regarded as major conferences in the past. For example:
    • The Missouri Valley Conference was considered a major basketball conference until many of its most prominent members left in the mid-1970s (before Indiana State's 1979 run to the title game).
    • Conference USA was considered a major conference at its formation in 1995. It arguably became a mid-major in 2005, when several of its more prominent teams left for the Big East Conference, and unquestionably became a mid-major during the early-2010s realignment cycle.
    • The WAC was considered a major conference until 1999, when 8 of its 16 members left to form the Mountain West Conference.
    • The MW was considered a major basketball conference until 2011, when two of its most prominent basketball programs (BYU and Utah) left for other conferences (West Coast Conference and Pac-12, respectively).
  • As alluded to above, certain programs that were members of "mid-major" conferences during deep tournament runs are nonetheless widely viewed as having been major programs at that time. The same applies to many programs that were independent before the 1980s. Examples include (but are not limited to) San Francisco in the 1950s, Marquette in the 1970s, UNLV in the last part of the 20th century, and Gonzaga today.
Mid-Major Conference Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight Final Four Championship Game National Champion
America East[nb 1]
ASUN [nb 2] Florida Gulf Coast (2013)
Big Sky Weber State (1969, 1972), Montana (1975), Idaho (1982) Idaho State (1977)
Big South
Big West[nb 3] Long Beach State (1973), UNLV (1975, 1976, 1984, 1986), Fresno State (1982), New Mexico State (1992) Long Beach State (1972), Cal State Fullerton (1978), UNLV (1989) UNLV (1977, 1987, 1991) UNLV (1990)
CAA[nb 4] Richmond (1988) Navy (1986) George Mason (2006), VCU (2011)
C-USA Louisville (1996), Cincinnati (2001), UAB (2004), Memphis (2009) Cincinnati (1996), Louisville (1997), Memphis (2006, 2007) Marquette (2003), Louisville (2005) Memphis (2008[nb 5])
Horizon[nb 6] Loyola (Chicago) (1985), Xavier (1990), Butler (2003, 2007), Milwaukee (2005) Butler (2010, 2011)
Ivy Princeton (1967), Columbia (1968), Cornell (2010) Dartmouth (1958) Princeton (1965), Penn (1979)
MAAC Saint Peter's (2022)
MAC Bowling Green (1963), Central Michigan (1975), Western Michigan (1976), Toledo (1979), Ball State (1990), Eastern Michigan (1991), Miami (Ohio) (1999), Ohio (2012) Ohio (1964), Kent State (2002)
MEAC
MVC Saint Louis (1957), Cincinnati (1958, 1966), Creighton (1962, 1964, 1974), Tulsa (1994, 1995), Southwest Missouri State (1999), Southern Illinois (1977, 2002, 2007), Wichita State (2006, 2015), Bradley (2006), Northern Iowa (2010), Loyola–Chicago (2021) Creighton (1941), Saint Louis (1952), Bradley (1955), Wichita State (1964, 1981), Drake (1970, 1971) Oklahoma A&M (1949), Cincinnati (1960), Wichita State (1965, 2013), Drake (1969), Loyola–Chicago (2018) Bradley (1950, 1954), Cincinnati (1963), Indiana State (1979) Oklahoma A&M (1945, 1946), Cincinnati (1961, 1962)
MW Utah (2005), UNLV (2007), BYU (2011), San Diego State (2011, 2014), Nevada (2018)
NEC[nb 7]
OVC Morehead State (1961), Austin Peay (1973)
Patriot[nb 8]
SoCon East Tennessee State (1968), Furman (1974), VMI (1977), Chattanooga (1997) VMI (1976), Davidson (1968, 1969, 2008)
Southland Lamar (1980), Louisiana Tech (1985)
SWAC
Summit[nb 9] Cleveland State (1986), Valparaiso (1998), Oral Roberts (2021)
Sun Belt Western Kentucky (1993, 2008) UAB (1982) UNC Charlotte (1977)
WCC[nb 10] Santa Clara (1970), Pacific (1971), Pepperdine (1976), San Francisco (1979), Gonzaga (2000, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2016, 2018), St. Mary's (California) (2010) St. Mary's (California) (1959), Pacific (1967), Santa Clara (1969), San Francisco (1974), Loyola Marymount (1990), Gonzaga (1999, 2015, 2019) Santa Clara (1952), San Francisco (1957) Gonzaga (2017, 2021) San Francisco (1955, 1956)
WAC Colorado State (1969), New Mexico (1974), Wyoming (1987), Utah (1991, 1996), UTEP (1992), Nevada (2004) BYU (1981), Utah (1997), Tulsa (2000) Utah (1966) Utah (1998)
  1. ^ Known as the Eastern College Athletic Conference-North from 1979 to 1988 and the North Atlantic Conference from 1988 to 1996.
  2. ^ Known as the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) from 1978 to 2001 and as the Atlantic Sun Conference from 2001 to 2016.
  3. ^ Known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) from 1969 to 1988.
  4. ^ Known as the Eastern College Athletic Conference-South from 1979 to 1985.
  5. ^ Vacated due to academic ineligibility and impermissible benefits given to Derrick Rose
  6. ^ Known as the Midwestern City Conference from 1979 to 1985 and the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1985 to 2001.
  7. ^ Known as the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Metro from 1979 to 1988.
  8. ^ Known as the Colonial League from 1986 to 1990, a period in which it was a football-only conference.
  9. ^ Known as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities from 1982 to 1989 and the Mid-Continent Conference (MCC) until 2007.
  10. ^ Known as the California Basketball Association from 1952 to 1956 and the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC) from 1956 to 1989.

Defunct conferences and independents[edit]

This table shows teams that saw success in the tournament from now-defunct conferences or were independents.

One conference listed here, the Southwest Conference, was universally considered a major conference throughout its history. Of its final eight members, five are now in conferences typically considered "major" in basketball—three in the Big 12, one in the SEC, and one in The American. Another member that left during the SWC's last decade is now in the SEC. The Metro Conference, which operated from 1975 to 1995, is not listed here because it was considered a major basketball conference throughout its history. Most notably, Louisville, which was a member for the league's entire existence, won both of its NCAA-recognized titles (1980, 1986) while in the Metro. It was one of the two leagues that merged to form today's Conference USA. The other league involved in the merger, the Great Midwest Conference, was arguably a major conference; it was formed in 1990, with play starting in 1991, when several of the Metro's strongest basketball programs left that league.

Mid-Major Conference Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight Final Four Championship Game National Champion
Border Intercollegiate Athletic Conference[nb 1] New Mexico State (1952) Arizona State (1961)
East Coast Conference[nb 2] Saint Joseph's (1981)
Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League[nb 3] Dartmouth (1941) Dartmouth (1942, 1944)
Great Midwest Conference[nb 4] Marquette (1994), Memphis (1995) Memphis State (1992), Cincinnati (1993) Cincinnati (1992)
Metropolitan New York Conference[nb 5] NYU (1943, 1946, 1951, 1962, 1963), Manhattan (1958) City College of New York (1947) NYU (1960) NYU (1952) City College of New York (1950)
Middle Atlantic Conference[nb 6] Saint Joseph's (1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1966) Saint Joseph's (1963) Saint Joseph's (1961)
Mountain States Conference[nb 7] BYU (1950, 1951, 1957) Wyoming (1941) Utah State (1939) Wyoming (1943)
New Jersey-New York 7 Conference[nb 8] St. John's (1979)
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association[nb 9] Western Kentucky (1940)
Southwest Conference[nb 10] Texas A&M (1956, 1969, 1980) Texas (1939, 1943, 1947, 1990), Rice (1940, 1942) Texas (1943, 1947) Houston (1983, 1984)
Western New York Little Three Conference[nb 11] Canisius (1957) Canisius (1955, 1956)
Yankee Conference[nb 12] UConn (1956, 1976) UConn (1964)
Independents Montana State (1951), Dayton (1952, 1965, 1966, 1974), DePaul (1953, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1976, 1984, 1986[nb 13], 1987[nb 13]), Seattle (1953, 1955, 1956, 1964), Butler (1962), Utah State (1962, 1964), St. Bonaventure (1968), Niagara (1970), Cincinnati (1975), Detroit (1977) Brown (1939), Springfield (1940), Oklahoma City (1957), Boston University (1959), Utah State (1970), DePaul (1978), Dayton (1984) Duquesne (1940), DePaul (1943, 1979), Bradley (1955), New Mexico State (1970), St. Bonaventure (1970), Rutgers (1976) Bradley (1954), La Salle (1955), Seattle (1958), Dayton (1967), Jacksonville (1970) Utah (1944), Holy Cross (1947), La Salle (1954), Loyola (Chicago) (1963), Texas Western (1966), Marquette (1977)
  1. ^ Established in 1931 and dissolved in 1962.
  2. ^ Established in 1958 and dissolved in 1994.
  3. ^ Established in 1901 and dissolved in 1955, though claimed by the Ivy League as a part of its own history.
  4. ^ Established in 1990 and merged into Conference USA in 1995.
  5. ^ Established in 1933 and dissolved in 1963.
  6. ^ Established in 1912 and became a Division III conference after 1974.
  7. ^ Established in 1938 and known as the Skyline Conference from 1951 to 1962 before the conference dissolved in early 1962.
  8. ^ Established in 1976 and dissolved in 1979.
  9. ^ Established in 1894 and dissolved in 1942.
  10. ^ Established in 1914 and dissolved in 1996.
  11. ^ Established in 1946 and dissolved in 1958.
  12. ^ Established in 1946 by former members of the New England Conference, which was founded in 1938 but never placed a team in the NCAA Tournament; became a football-only conference in 1976 and dissolved in 1997.
  13. ^ a b Vacated by the NCAA

Tournament appearances streaks[edit]

  • List of schools with the longest streaks of appearances in the NCAA tournament. Because no tournament was held in 2020, that year does not count as an interruption.
  • Bold Indicates an active current streak as of the 2022 tournament.
School Start of streak Last appearance in streak Years
Kansas 1990 2022 32 years
North Carolina 1975 2001 27 years
Duke 1996 2019 24 years
Michigan State 1998 2022 24 years
Arizona 1985 2009 25 years[d]
Gonzaga 1999 2022 23 years
  1. ^ Louisville won three tournaments on the court; however, the third title in 2013 was vacated by the NCAA due to sanctions stemming from a sex scandal that became public in 2015.
  2. ^ In a 2019 story on the rise of Murray State point guard Ja Morant, veteran sportswriter Pat Forde argued that as early as 2006, Gonzaga was no longer a mid-major program. Forde stated that Morant could be the first "true mid-major" player to be selected in the top five of the NBA draft since 1998, specifically saying that 2006 third pick Adam Morrison was from "decided non-mid-major Gonzaga."[15]
  3. ^ In January 2022, ESPN's Kevin Connors defined mid-majors as "programs outside the top 7 conferences (Power Five, Big East, AAC) and Gonzaga" (emphasis added).[14]
  4. ^ Two of Arizona's appearances in this period (1999, 2008) were later vacated due to NCAA sanctions.

Tournament droughts[edit]

  • List of schools with the longest time between NCAA tournament appearances (minimum 20-year drought).
  • Bold Indicates an active current streak as of the 2022 tournament:
School Appearance Next Appearance Years
Harvard 1946 2012 66 years
Dartmouth 1959 63 years
Tennessee Tech 1963 59 years
Yale 1962 2016 54 years
Bowling Green 1968 54 years
Columbia
Seattle 1969 53 years (not in Division I in 29 of those years)
Rice 1970 52 years
Brown 1939 1986 47 years
Stanford 1942 1989
Wisconsin 1947 1994
Duquesne 1977 45 years
VMI
Furman 1980 42 years
Toledo
Air Force 1962 2004 42 years
Iowa State 1944 1985 41 years
Washington State 1941 1980 39 years
Canisius 1957 1996
Houston Baptist 1984 - 38 years (not in Division I in 19 of those years)
Baylor 1950 1988 38 years
Portland 1959 1996 37 years
Drake 1971 2008
Brown 1986 36 years
Jacksonville
Idaho State 1987 35 years
Marist
Manhattan 1958 1993 35 years
Oregon 1961 1995 34 years[16]
Loyola-Chicago 1985 2018 33 years
Idaho 1990 32 years
Loyola Marymount
Georgetown 1943 1975 32 years
Louisiana Tech 1991 31 years