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When guys talk about college basketball, what they're usually talking about is NCAA Division I Men's Basketball. The women play a great game. Small college ball is filled with talented players and brilliant coaches.

But Major College Ball means The Big Dance. March Madness. And the season before the post-season consists of 341 schools (give or take) vying to be in the Group of 68 who are invited to the The Big Dance, all hoping to string together the six consecutive wins needed to be the National Champion.

Featured School

In 1924 the University of North Carolina finished their season with a 26-0 record and the Helms Foundation named them national champions. Since then the 'Heels have won four NCAA championship titles. They have done so with a host of superstars, including Lennie Rosenbluth, Dean Smith, Sam Perkins, James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse, Roy Williams, Sean May, and Tyler Hansbrough. Their first NCAA championship, in 1957, was perhaps the hardest-fought title game in NCAA history, as the Tar Heels went three overtimes with Wilt Chamberlain and his Kansas Jayhawks before prevailing, 54-53. Most recently, they took the title in 2008. It appears that they have no intention of stopping any time soon.

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Ever wonder about the beginnings of March Madness? The first National Invitation Tournament took place to great acclaim in 1938. The National Association of Basketball Coaches decided a tournament of conference champions would be a good idea the next year. When the tournament ended with a deficit of $2,531, the coaches asked the NCAA to take over. That's how the NCAA tournament started. Today, CBS broadcast provides the NCAA with over 500 million dollars annually, and makes up over 90% of the NCAA's annual revenue. Around 20 million viewers (in 2012) tuned in to watch the championship game. Read more about the tournament here.

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Top Ten

Here are the rankings of the ten best teams in country, according to the AP college basketball coaches' poll (March 11, 2013)
  1. Gonzaga
  2. Duke
  3. Indiana
  4. Louisville
  5. Georgetown
  6. Michigan
  7. Kansas
  8. Michigan State
  9. Miami (FL)
  10. Ohio State

Featured Player

Kansas State fans were more excited about basketball this year than they have been in some time. Excitement is what you get when you see Michael "Beastly" Beasley play. The 6'10" small forward averaged a double-double as a freshman. He is currently playing with the Phoenix Suns in the NBA and is averaging 10 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game and shooting 77.2% free throws this year. Read more about Michael Beasley.

Old School

Is there a more venerated figure in the history of college basketball than John Wooden? The legendary UCLA coach is well-known for his 10 national championships. But did you know that his credentials as a player are nearly as impressive? He led his high school team to three consecutive Indiana state finals, winning the championship in 1927. On to Purdue, where he rewrote the record books, averaging a blistering 12.1 PPG his senior year, tops in the Big Ten. The Helms Foundation named his 1932 team national champs and named him national player of the year. He went on to play pro ball while he taught and coached high school teams, before he turned to coaching college ball. It was his brilliance on the court that got him elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player; it was his brilliance on the bench, however, that got him elected to Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. He was the first Hall of Famer to be elected for both. Read more about this amazing basketball legend: John Wooden.



Three administrative bodies oversee the operations of college basketball in the United States. The best-known is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Member schools of the NCAA are divided into three divisions, roughly according to their size and resources. Division I encompasses about 325 of the largest and most prominent college athletic programs in the country. Colleges and universities which place less emphasis on inter-collegiate athletics and with fewer resources are found in Divisions II and III.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is similarly divided into two divisions. NAIA members tend to be smaller colleges in the West, Midwest and South. The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) administer varsity sports programs of member two-year colleges. They sponsor championships in three divisions.

All these organizations have tournaments for men and women. Over 3,300 teams compete within these three organizatons.


  • Administrative Body (e.g. NCAA)
    • Division I
      • Conference (e.g. "Big Ten")
        • Team 1 (e.g. "Ohio State")
        • Team 2
        • Etc.
      • Another Conference
      • Etc.
    • Division II


In the 2006-07 basketball season, those organizations reported the following figures for member institutions eligible to participate in their post-season tournaments.

Men's Basketball

Number of member schools by administrative body and division.

Administrative Body Division I Division II Division III Total
NCAA 326 293 405 1024
NAIA 96 146 -- 242
NJCAA 212 114 97 423
Total 1689

Women's Basketball

Number of member schools by administrative body and division.

Administrative Body Division I Division II Division III Total
NCAA 325 294 433 1052
NAIA 96 148 -- 244
NJCAA 180 121 71 372
Total 1668