What Are The Rounds of March Madness Called?

Morgan Wolf

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What Are The Rounds of March Madness Called

March Madness, the thrilling annual college basketball tournament, captivates fans around the world with its high-stakes matchups and unpredictable outcomes. 

As the tournament progresses, teams battle through a series of rounds, each with its own unique name and significance. In this blog post, we will explore and demystify the rounds of March Madness, shedding light on the structure and excitement that unfolds on the road to crowning a national champion. 

Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the world of college basketball, understanding the different rounds will enhance your enjoyment of the tournament and provide valuable insights into the rich history of March Madness.

How Many Rounds Are There in March Madness?

March Madness consists of six rounds in total. The tournament begins with the First Four, followed by the First Round (Round of 64) and the Second Round (Round of 32). The winners then advance to the Sweet Sixteen, which is followed by the Elite Eight. 

The remaining four teams make it to the Final Four, and from there, two teams compete in the Championship Game to determine the ultimate winner. Each round adds to the excitement and intensity of the tournament, captivating fans and showcasing the best of college basketball.

What Are The Rounds of March Madness Called?

What Are The Rounds of March Madness Called?

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The rounds of March Madness are called the First Four, Round of 64, Round of 32, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and Championship Game. All the rounds are discussed below.

The Selection Sunday

The Selection Sunday

Source: al.com

Selection Sunday is a highly anticipated event that sets the stage for March Madness. It is the day when the NCAA selection committee announces the 68 teams that will compete in the tournament. 

The committee evaluates teams’ regular-season performances, strength of schedule, key wins, and other criteria to determine the seeding and bracket placements. Selection Sunday sparks excitement and debates among fans as they eagerly anticipate the matchups and seedings for their favorite teams. 

It also serves as a platform for bubble teams, hoping for an invitation to the tournament. The announcement of the bracket creates a frenzy of bracketology, with fans and analysts predicting outcomes and filling out their brackets in anticipation of the upcoming games.

The First Four

The First Four

Source : insider.com

The First Four is a relatively recent addition to March Madness, introduced in 2011. It consists of four play-in games played by eight teams, with the winners earning a spot in the Round of 64. 

The First Four is held in Dayton, Ohio, and serves as a prelude to the main tournament. It offers an opportunity for lower-seeded teams and those from smaller conferences to showcase their skills and earn a chance to compete against higher-ranked opponents. 

The First Four games are often closely contested, creating an atmosphere of excitement and unpredictability. These games also provide a platform for Cinderella stories to unfold, as underdog teams make their mark and capture the attention of fans worldwide.

The First Round (Round of 64)

The First Round

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The First Round, also known as the Round of 64, is where the full-fledged tournament action begins. It features 32 games played across multiple venues over the course of two days. 

This round is characterized by the high number of upsets and surprises that can occur as lower-seeded teams challenge higher-ranked opponents. The First Round captures the essence of March Madness, with buzzer-beaters, thrilling finishes, and unexpected outcomes becoming the norm. 

It is a time when bracket predictions are put to the test and fans revel in the excitement of witnessing underdogs triumph over favorites. The Round of 64 sets the stage for the tournament’s intensity, generating immense enthusiasm and drawing millions of viewers to the games.

The Second Round (Round of 32)

The Second Round (Round of 32)

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Following the First Round, the tournament enters the Round of 32, also known as the Second Round. This round features 16 games played over two days, as the winners from the Round of 64 face off against each other. 

The level of competition intensifies, as teams vie for a coveted spot in the Sweet Sixteen. The Second Round is characterized by the clash of talented teams, often leading to compelling matchups and nail-biting finishes. 

It is a crucial stage of the tournament, where the top seeds face stiff challenges and potential upsets. The Round of 32 offers an opportunity for teams to prove their mettle and showcase their championship aspirations, adding to the excitement and unpredictability of March Madness.

The Sweet Sixteen

The Sweet Sixteen

Source: usatoday.com

The Sweet Sixteen is a highly anticipated round of March Madness, where the tournament field is narrowed down to the remaining 16 teams. As the name suggests, reaching this stage is a significant achievement for teams, symbolizing their success and progression in the tournament. 

The matchups in the Sweet Sixteen are intense and closely contested, featuring top-seeded teams and resilient underdogs. The games become showcases of talent, strategy, and resilience, with players stepping up to make memorable plays. 

The Sweet Sixteen often produces thrilling finishes, buzzer-beating shots, and unexpected upsets that add to the tournament’s allure.

Each year, teams aim to solidify their place among the elite by advancing to the next round, creating unforgettable moments, and establishing their legacies in the history of March Madness.

The Elite Eight

The Elite Eight

Source: usatoday.com

The Elite Eight is the penultimate round of March Madness and represents the final stage before the coveted Final Four. At this stage, only eight teams remain, and the competition reaches new heights. 

The Elite Eight features the best of the best, showcasing the elite talents, coaching prowess, and team chemistry that have propelled these teams to the brink of the Final Four. 

The matchups are intense and highly competitive, often resulting in thrilling contests that come down to the wire. The stakes are incredibly high, with the teams vying for a chance to play on the biggest stage in college basketball. 

The Elite Eight has witnessed some of the most memorable moments in March Madness history, with players stepping up in clutch situations and teams battling fiercely for the opportunity to compete for a national championship.

The Final Four

The Final Four

Source: edition.cnn.com

The Final Four is the culmination of the March Madness journey and represents the epitome of college basketball excellence. After enduring weeks of fierce competition, only four teams remain in contention for the national championship. 

The Final Four is a celebration of basketball, where the best teams from across the country converge in a single location to determine who will vie for the ultimate prize. The matchups in the Final Four are highly anticipated, pitting the remaining teams against each other in fiercely contested battles. 

The atmosphere is electric, with fans from all teams coming together to witness the pinnacle of college basketball. The Final Four not only showcases exceptional athleticism and skill but also embraces the spirit of competition and the unity that basketball can bring to fans and players alike.

The Championship Game

The Championship Game

Source: edition.cnn.com

The Championship Game is the grand finale of March Madness, where the two best teams face off for the national championship. This game is the culmination of weeks of intense competition, filled with thrilling victories and heartbreaking defeats. The Championship Game is the ultimate test of a team’s skill, resolve, and ability to perform under pressure. 

The matchup brings together the best players, coaching strategies, and fan support in a battle for basketball glory. The Championship Game has produced some of the most iconic moments in sports history, with players hitting game-winning shots, teams staging comebacks, and underdogs defying the odds. 

The excitement and anticipation surrounding the Championship Game are palpable, as fans witness the crowning of a new champion and the culmination of an unforgettable journey through March Madness.


What are the rounds of March Madness called?

The rounds of March Madness are called the First Four, the First Round (Round of 64), the Second Round (Round of 32), the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and the Championship Game.

What happens in the First Four?

The First Four is a round that consists of four play-in games played by eight teams. The winners of these games advance to the main bracket, joining the other 60 teams in the Round of 64.

How many teams are left after the First Round and Second Round?

After the First Round, also known as the Round of 64, 32 teams advance to the Second Round, or the Round of 32. At this stage, half of the initial tournament field has been eliminated.

What makes the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds special?

The Sweet Sixteen marks the point in the tournament where only 16 teams remain. These matchups are highly anticipated and often showcase intense competition and memorable performances. 

The Elite Eight is the round that follows, featuring the eight remaining teams battling for a spot in the Final Four.

What is the significance of the Final Four and Championship Game?

The Final Four is the culmination of March Madness, where the last four teams standing compete for a chance to play in the Championship Game. This stage represents the pinnacle of the tournament, with teams showcasing their skills and determination. 

The Championship Game is the ultimate showdown, determining the national champion of college basketball.

Wrapping Up

The rounds of March Madness are essential for fully appreciating the excitement and drama that unfold during the tournament.

From the initial First Four play-in games to the intensity of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, each round brings us closer to the highly anticipated Final Four and the crowning of a champion in the Championship Game. 

By delving into the structure and significance of these rounds, fans can better appreciate the journey that teams undertake and the memorable moments that make March Madness a beloved sporting spectacle. 

So, grab your bracket, cheer on your favorite teams, and immerse yourself in the electrifying rounds of March Madness. Have a nice day.

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Morgan Wolf

Journalist with experience covering the intersection of sports with business. Demonstrated expertise in digital, video and social media content covering major sports including soccer, NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis and Olympic sports. But basketball is his passion. Specialties: expert for sports related content management LinkedIn