Order Restored to NCAA Tournament: the ‘First Round’ Will Once Again Refer to Thursday, Friday Games

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After five confusing years, the NCAA has come to their senses. On Wednesday they announced that they will no longer call the four NCAA Tournament play-in games the “first round.” Instead, the “first round” will once again refer to the round of 64 played on the first Thursday and Friday of March Madness.

Things weren’t so confusing from 1985 through 2000. Back then the NCAA Tournament simply consisted of 64 teams, all of whom began play at the same time. Things got a little tricky in 2001, however, when the NCAA tournament field increased to 65 teams, with the bottom two taking part in a play-in game to determine the final field of 64. However, that play-in game was not considered the “first round.”

Things didn’t get unnecessarily confusing until 2011. That year the NCAA Tournament expanded to 68 teams, with eight taking part in four play-in games to determine the final field of 64. At that point the NCAA started calling the four play-in games the “first round.” The round of 64 was then called the second round, and the round of 32 the third round.

However, nobody really considered the four play-in games to be part of the main tournament. Calling them the “first round” was contrary to common sense and only served to confuse everybody. So now, finally, the NCAA is going back to the way things were. The play-in games will now be called the “First Four,” and the “first round” will be the first round.


Oh, and in case you were wondering, the NCAA selection show is Sunday, March 13. The “First Four” are March 15 and 16. And the “first round” is March 17 and 18.

Hat Tip – [ESPN]

Tags: college Basketball, March Madness, NCAA Tournament,