NCAA Basketball Madness Marches In

March 14, 2024 by Staff

March Madness is one of the most magical times of the year in sports. Beginning with conference tournaments spread over two weeks, followed by the selection of 68 teams for the NCAA national championship tournament, and 3 successive weeks of high-quality playoff basketball, it's no wonder March Madness drives billions of dollars in to the sports betting industry.

32 teams will get automatic bids and the remaining 36 will be chosen by the committee.

In reality, the games extend into the first two weekends of April with the championship game for 2024 scheduled to be played on April 8 at the football stadium in Glendale, Arizona where the NFL's Cardinals play their home games, and college football's Fiesta Bowl annually takes place.

On the men's side, UConn has emerged as the favorite at +480 with Houston close by at +650 and Purdue at +750.

Meanwhile, the women's team at South Carolina is the only undefeated D1 program for either the women or men, and most are wondering if this is South Carolina's tournament to lose. At the time of this writing, the Gamecocks were -115 while Iowa and LSU were tied at +550.

In 2023, a record 68 million Americans wagered on March Madness as 31 million bettors either placed traditional bets online, or did so at a sportsbook or with a bookie. Additionally, 21.5 million bet casually with friends while 56.3 million participated in a bracket contest. 75% of bettors said 2023 was their first time betting on March Madness. (reference: American Gaming Association)

All but 11 of the 50 states now have some form of legalized sports betting. So does Washington, DC, and the US territory of Puerto Rico.

One of the most popular sportsbooks is FanDuel which operates around the world. FanDuel NCAA Basketball wagering opportunities include both the men's and women's tournaments.

The wagering numbers are expected to grow by as much as 50% in 2024, aided by the ease of accessibility. And it doesn't hurt that the popularity of women's college basketball has exploded, aided by the multi-year careers of players like Caitlin Clark of Iowa, and the effervescent personalities of Virginia Tech's dynamic duo of Liz Kitley (Center) and Georgia Amoore (Guard). The women's games used to take place in near-empty gyms, but now find the coliseums packed with fans who know the names, support the players, and cheer just as wildly as they do for the men's games.

The 2023 Women's Final Four averaged 4.5 million viewers as LSU-Virginia Tech and South Carolina-Iowa combined to become the most-watched Women's Final Four matchups ever.

Clinched Bids

Since the NCAA tournament began in 1939, only 37 different schools have won the title. Of those 37, 23 schools have won the title just once.

The schools with the most championships rank as follows, with the year of that school's last title in parenthesis:
1) UCLA, 11 (1995)
2) Kentucky, 8 (2012)
3) North Carolina, 6 (2017)
4-tie) Duke, 5 (2015)
4-tie) UConn, 5 (2023)
4-tie) Indiana, 5 (1987)
5) Kansas, 4 (2022)
6) Louisville, 3 (2013)
7) Villanova, 3 (2018)

NOTE: Head coach John Wooden leads all coaches with 10 of those 11 UCLA titles, including 3 with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Adbul-Jabbar) and 2 with Bill Walton.

These seven programs have won two titles:
Cincinnati (1961 and 1962)
Florida (2006 and 2007)
Oklahoma State (1945 and 1946)
San Francisco (1955 and 1956)
Michigan State (1979 and 2000)
NC State (1974 and 1983)
*Louisville (1980 and 1986)

Louisville also won the 2013 championship, but a strip-club and sex scandal lead to the school being stripped (pardon the pun) of that title.

Note that Cincinnati, Florida, Oklahoma State and San Francisco all won their two titles in back-to-back seasons. San Francisco won their two crowns with another iconic center, Bill Russell.

2024 Bids

Here is a list of all the teams that have clinched bids by winning their conference tournament, as well as the date of the remaining conference tourney games.


  • ASUN: Stetson
    The Hatters clinched their first-ever NCAA bid as the #2 seed beat #4 see Austin Peay 94-91 at home in DeLand, Florida. The #1 seed, Eastern Kentucky, was upset at home in its first conference tourney game by #10 seed Jacksonville, 67-65.
  • Big Sky: Montana State (5th appearance)
  • Big South: Longwood (2nd appearance)
  • CAA: Charleston (7th appearance)
  • Horizon League: Oakland (4th appearance)
  • Missouri Valley: Drake (7th appearance)
  • Northeast: Wagner (2nd appearance - each of last two seasons)
  • Ohio Valley: Morehead State (9th appearance)
  • Patriot League: Colgate (7th appearance)
  • Southern: Samford (3rd appearance)
  • Southland: McNeese (3rd appearance)
  • Summit League: South Dakota State (7th appearance)
  • Sun Belt: James Madison (6th appearance)
  • West Coast: Saint Mary's (13th appearance)


  • America East: March 16
  • American Athletic: March 17
  • Atlantic 10: March 17
  • ACC: March 16
  • Big 12: March 16
  • Big East: March 16
  • Big Ten: March 17
  • Big West: March 16
  • Conference USA: March 16
  • Ivy League: March 17
  • MAAC: March 16
  • MAC: March 16
  • MEAC: March 16
  • Mountain West: March 16
  • Pac-12: March 16

The NCAA men's tournament selection show will take place this Sunday at 6 p.,m. on ESPN.

Following the men's selections, the women's field will be announced at 8 p.m. on ESPN.