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NCAA bracket 2021: Printable March Madness bracket
This year’s tournament will be held entirely in Indiana because of the pandemic. There are some slight changes to how the bracket will be seeded. The top four seeds will be handled the same and so will the First Four. The changes will come in how the rest of the bracket is completed. Teams will be placed in the bracket based on rankings without the usual considerations for geography. This is called using the “S-curve” to fill the bracket. There will be 37 at-large selections (one more than normal) and 31 automatic qualifiers (one fewer than normal).
The Selection Committee will followed its bracketing principles, like not matching teams from the same conference against each other in early rounds. You can read the NCAA’s release on bracketing principles here and our takeaways on what it means here.
We’ll also be tracking verifiable perfect brackets from all major bracket games throughout the entire tournament. The bar is set high — Gregg Nigl picked the first 49 games correctly in 2019 before his first miss. Nigl was playing the Bracket Challenge Game on NCAA.com, which you can sign up to play here.
Virginia was the champion that year and are still the defending champions since the 2020 tournament was canceled. Here’s a look at the 2019 bracket:
2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket
Here’s a quick guide to how teams earn a spot in the NCAA tournament.
How are March Madness teams selected?
There are two ways that a team can earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. The 32 Division I conferences all receive an automatic bid (there will be 31 in 2021), which they each award to the team that wins the postseason conference tournament. Regardless of how a team performed during the regular season, if they are eligible for postseason play and win their conference tournament, they are selected to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament. These teams are known as automatic qualifiers.
The second avenue for an invitation is an at-large bid. The selection committee (more on them in a second) convenes on Selection Sunday, after all regular season and conference tournament games are played, and decides which 36 teams (37 in 2021) that are not automatic qualifiers have the pedigree to earn an invitation to the tournament.
What is the March Madness selection committee?
The 10-member NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee is responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field for the NCAA Tournament. School and conference administrators are nominated by their conference, serve five-year terms and represent a cross-section of the Division I membership.
How do they decide which teams get an at-large bid?
There are a multitude of stats and rankings that the Selection Committee takes into account, but there is no set formula that determines whether a team receives an at-large bid or not.
What’s this thing called the NCAA evaluation tool?
The NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET, is a tool for the committee to evaluate the strength of individual teams. It replaces the RPI and was approved after months of consultation with the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, top basketball analytics experts and Google Cloud Professional Services. It includes game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin (capped at 10 points per game), and net offensive and defensive efficiency.
What is the importance of seeding in March Madness?
The men’s college basketball tournament is made up of 68 teams. On Selection Sunday, before any tournament game is played, those teams are ranked 1 through 68 by the Selection Committee, with the best team in college basketball — based on regular season and conference tournament performance — sitting at No. 1. Four of those teams are eliminated in the opening round of the tournament (known as the First Four), leaving us with a field of 64 for the first round.
Those 64 teams are split into four regions of 16 teams each, with each team being ranked 1 through 16. That ranking is the team’s seed.
In order to reward better teams, first-round matchups are determined by pitting the top team in the region against the bottom team (No. 1 vs. No. 16). Then the next highest vs. the next lowest (No. 2 vs. No. 15), and so on. In theory, this means that the 1 seeds have the easiest opening matchup to win in the bracket.
What is a Cinderella?
Much like the titular character from the fairy tale, a Cinderella team is one that is much more successful than expected. Examples in March would be Villanova’s 1985 championship run, when the eighth-seeded Wildcats became the lowest seeded team to ever win the title, knocking off the heavy favorite Georgetown.
Who has won every NCAA tournament?
Thirty-five different teams have won a championship, but no team has won more than UCLA, which has 11, 10 of which came a span of 12 years from 1964 to 1975.
Previous March Madness winners
Here is the list of every men’s basketball national championship since the NCAA tournament began in 1939:
|YEAR||CHAMPION (RECORD)||HEAD COACH||SCORE||RUNNER-UP||SITE|
|2019||Virginia (35-3)||Tony Bennett||85-77 (OT)||Texas Tech||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|2018||Villanova (36-4)||Jay Wright||79-62||Michigan||San Antonio, Tex.|
|2017||North Carolina (33-7)||Roy Williams||71-65||Gonzaga||Phoenix, Ariz.|
|2016||Villanova (35-5)||Jay Wright||77-74||North Carolina||Houston, Texas|
|2015||Duke (35-4)||Mike Krzyzewski||68-63||Wisconsin||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2014||Connecticut (32-8)||Kevin Ollie||60-54||Kentucky||Arlington, Texas|
|2013||Louisville (35-5)*||Rick Pitino||82-76||Michigan||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2012||Kentucky (38-2)||John Calipari||67-59||Kansas||New Orleans, La.|
|2011||Connecticut (32-9)||Jim Calhoun||53-41||Butler||Houston, Texas|
|2010||Duke (35-5)||Mike Krzyzewski||61-59||Butler||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2009||North Carolina (34-4)||Roy Williams||89-72||Michigan State||Detroit, Mich.|
|2008||Kansas (37-3)||Bill Self||75-68 (OT)||Memphis||San Antonio, Texas|
|2007||Florida (35-5)||Billy Donovan||84-75||Ohio State||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2006||Florida (33-6)||Billy Donovan||73-57||UCLA||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2005||North Carolina (33-4)||Roy Williams||75-70||Illinois||St. Louis, Mo.|
|2004||Connecticut (33-6)||Jim Calhoun||82-73||Georgia Tech||San Antonio, Texas|
|2003||Syracuse (30-5)||Jim Boeheim||81-78||Kansas||New Orleans, La.|
|2002||Maryland (32-4)||Gary Williams||64-52||Indiana||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2001||Duke (35-4)||Mike Krzyzewski||82-72||Arizona||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|2000||Michigan State (32-7)||Tom Izzo||89-76||Florida||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1999||Connecticut (34-2)||Jim Calhoun||77-74||Duke||St. Petersburg, Fla.|
|1998||Kentucky (35-4)||Tubby Smith||78-69||Utah||San Antonio, Texas|
|1997||Arizona (25-9)||Lute Olson||84-79 (OT)||Kentucky||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1996||Kentucky (34-2)||Rick Pitino||76-67||Syracuse||East Rutherford, N.J.|
|1995||UCLA (31-2)||Jim Harrick||89-78||Arkansas||Seattle, Wash.|
|1994||Arkansas (31-3)||Nolan Richardson||76-72||Duke||Charlotte, N.C.|
|1993||North Carolina (34-4)||Dean Smith||77-71||Michigan||New Orleans, La.|
|1992||Duke (34-2)||Mike Krzyzewski||71-51||Michigan||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|1991||Duke (32-7)||Mike Krzyzewski||72-65||Kansas||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1990||UNLV (35-5)||Jerry Tarkanian||103-73||Duke||Denver, Colo.|
|1989||Michigan (30-7)||Steve Fisher||80-79 (OT)||Seton Hall||Seattle, Wash.|
|1988||Kansas (27-11)||Larry Brown||83-79||Oklahoma||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1987||Indiana (30-4)||Bob Knight||74-73||Syracuse||New Orleans, La.|
|1986||Louisville (32-7)||Denny Crum||72-69||Duke||Dallas, Texas|
|1985||Villanova (25-10)||Rollie Massimino||66-64||Georgetown||Lexington, Ky,|
|1984||Georgetown (34-3)||John Thompson||84-75||Houston||Seattle, Wash.|
|1983||North Carolina State (26-10)||Jim Valvano||54-52||Houston||Albuquerque, N.M.|
|1982||North Carolina (32-2)||Dean Smith||63-62||Georgetown||New Orleans, La.|
|1981||Indiana (26-9)||Bob Knight||63-50||North Carolina||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|1980||Louisville (33-3)||Denny Crum||59-54||UCLA||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|1979||Michigan State (26-6)||Jud Heathcote||75-64||Indiana State||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|1978||Kentucky (30-2)||Joe Hall||94-88||Duke||St. Louis, Mo.|
|1977||Marquette (25-7)||Al McGuire||67-59||North Carolina||Atlanta, Ga.|
|1976||Indiana (32-0)||Bob Knight||86-68||Michigan||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|1975||UCLA (28-3)||John Wooden||92-85||Kentucky||San Diego, Calif.|
|1974||North Carolina State (30-1)||Norm Sloan||76-64||Marquette||Greensboro, N.C.|
|1973||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||87-66||Memphis State||St. Louis, Mo.|
|1972||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||81-76||Florida State||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|1971||UCLA (29-1)||John Wooden||68-62||Villanova||Houston, Texas|
|1970||UCLA (28-2)||John Wooden||80-69||Jacksonville||College Park, Md.|
|1969||UCLA (29-1)||John Wooden||92-72||Purdue||Louisville, Ky.|
|1968||UCLA (29-1)||John Wooden||78-55||North Carolina||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|1967||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||79-64||Dayton||Louisville, Ky.|
|1966||UTEP (28-1)||Don Haskins||72-65||Kentucky||College Park, Md.|
|1965||UCLA (28-2)||John Wooden||91-80||Michigan||Portland, Ore.|
|1964||UCLA (30-0)||John Wooden||98-83||Duke||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1963||Loyola (Ill.) (29-2)||George Ireland||60-58 (OT)||Cincinnati||Louisville, Ky.|
|1962||Cincinnati (29-2)||Ed Jucker||71-59||Ohio State||Louisville, Ky.|
|1961||Cincinnati (27-3)||Ed Jucker||70-65 (OT)||Ohio State||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1960||Ohio State (25-3)||Fred Taylor||75-55||California||Daly City, Calif.|
|1959||California (25-4)||Pete Newell||71-70||West Virginia||Louisville, Ky.|
|1958||Kentucky (23-6)||Adolph Rupp||84-72||Seattle||Louisville, Ky.|
|1957||North Carolina (32-0)||Frank McGuire||54-53 (3OT)||Kansas||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1956||San Francisco (29-0)||Phil Woolpert||83-71||Iowa||Evanston, Ill.|
|1955||San Francisco (28-1)||Phil Woolpert||77-63||LaSalle||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1954||La Salle (26-4)||Ken Loeffler||92-76||Bradley||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1953||Indiana (23-3)||Branch McCracken||69-68||Kansas||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1952||Kansas (28-3)||Phog Allen||80-63||St. John’s||Seattle, Wash.|
|1951||Kentucky (32-2)||Adolph Rupp||68-58||Kansas State||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|1950||CCNY (24-5)||Nat Holman||71-68||Bradley||New York, N.Y.|
|1949||Kentucky (32-2)||Adolph Rupp||46-36||Oklahoma A&M||Seattle, Wash.|
|1948||Kentucky (36-3)||Adolph Rupp||58-42||Baylor||New York, N.Y.|
|1947||Holy Cross (27-3)||Doggie Julian||58-47||Oklahoma||New York, N.Y.|
|1946||Oklahoma State (31-2)||Henry Iba||43-40||North Carolina||New York, N.Y.|
|1945||Oklahoma State (27-4)||Henry Iba||49-45||NYU||New York, N.Y.|
|1944||Utah (21-4)||Vadal Peterson||42-40 (OT)||Dartmouth||New York, N.Y.|
|1943||Wyoming (31-2)||Everett Shelton||46-34||Georgetown||New York, N.Y.|
|1942||Stanford (28-4)||Everett Dean||53-38||Dartmouth||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1941||Wisconsin (20-3)||Bud Foster||39-34||Washington State||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1940||Indiana (20-3)||Branch McCracken||60-42||Kansas||Kansas City, Mo.|
|1939||Oregon (29-5)||Howard Hobson||46-33||Ohio State||Evanston, Ill.|
*Louisville’s participation in the 2013 tournament was later vacated by the Committee on Infractions.