Posted: March 2, 2011

Sporting events have become one of the most popular reasons to travel, attracting visitors from around the globe. Each year one of the most exciting sporting events in the world is March Madness, which is the national basketball tournament for NCAA Men’s Division One Basketball. This year the tournament consists of a total of 68 teams from across the country. The teams included in the tournament include over 25 teams that won their conference championships and the remaining teams were chosen by the selection committee based on their merits earned throughout the regular season.

Once the 68 teams are selected they are broken up into groups of 17. In each region the bottom two teams will face off in a single elimination play-in game to determine who will join the other 16 teams in the regional tournament. The remaining teams in the field then face off in a single-elimination tournament. The four teams that come out on top following the regional tournament will meet up in the Final Four to determine the eventual national champion.

While the tournament presently holds nearly 70 teams, it wasn’t always as large as it is today. The tournament originated in 1939 and contained just 8 of the best teams in the country. Since then the tournament has continued to expand. In 1951 it expanded to 16 teams, in 1975 it expanded to 32, in 1980 it expanded to 42, it was expanded to 64 in 1985, 65 teams in 2001, and finally 68 teams starting this year. Due to the popularity of the tournament, expansion is likely to continue even more in the future. Several rumors have circled about expansion to 96 or even 128 teams.

Every year the basketball tournament games are played in arenas all over the country. The first two rounds of the tournament will be played between March 17 and March 20 in Cleveland, OH, Tampa, FL, Charlotte, NC, Washington DC, Tulsa, OK, Denver, CO, and Tucson, AZ. The third and fourth rounds will be played between March 24 and March 27 in Anaheim, CA, New Orleans, LA, Newark, NJ, and San Antonio, TX. The national semi finals and national championship will be then be played in Houston on April 2 and April 4.

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