March Madness Selection Sunday

Selection Sunday in basketball is what officially marks the start of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament (March Madness). On Selection Sunday the selection committee selects the field that will compete in the upcoming march madness tournament. The date of the event changes from year to year, but it is always the last Sunday before the tournament games begin.

On this day, the selection committee finalizes its vote for the 36 at-large teams and the final bracket of 68 is broadcasted on television.

Television Broadcast

Selection Sunday has been marketed heavily over the years and has become a spectacle for viewers all across America. CBS broadcasts the unveiling of the bracket, along with constant analysis from former players and experts.

Team Reactions

One way CBS makes the selection show more entertaining for its viewers is by broadcasting the reactions of teams. Seeing a team get ecstatic after hearing their name called makes for good television. Even the capturing of heartbreak for a team that did not make the field makes the viewer feel for them. Seeing a team’s reaction helps fans feel a greater connection to the athletes, and increases their overall interest in the tournament.

College Basketball Selection Committee

The selection committee is in charge of picking the 68 teams in the tournament. It is their decisions on rankings and seedings that decide the bracket.

Selection Sunday Bracket

While the television spectacle has been a recent development, Selection Sunday has always been about the bracket being released. With the bracket comes several important pieces that fans are looking for.


The bracket that is released contains teams separated into four different quadrants, each composed of 16 teams. These teams are seeded from 1 to 16. Seeding is important, as higher seeds get to play lower seeds as well as play close to their home stadium.

Play In Games

On Selection Sunday, the bracket is released with 68 teams, however four teams must be eliminated before the tournament really begins. The eight teams compete for the last four spots remaining, with the winners clinching a seed in the tournament. These games are played a day or two prior to the round of 64. These eight teams are announced with the rest of the bracket during Selection Sunday, and mark the true start of March Madness.

First Four Out

After the 68 team field is finalized, the selection committee also releases a list of the “first four out”. These are the four highest ranked teams that did not make the cut, and they are listed in order of how close they were to making the tournament. They are then given a one seed in the NIT, which also has its bracket released on Selection Sunday.