The Big Dance has nothing to do with the waltz, the tango, or the samba. No, the NCAA Big Dance is the annual Division 1 men’s college basketball tournament. The Big Dance is also known as March Madness, though some consider the Big Dance to mean making it to the Final Four.
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What the Big Dance does is determine who the winners are in the college basketball tournament for that year. There are nearly 350 NCAA Division 1 mens college basketball teams. Of that, 68 teams make it to the Big Dance. In the tournament, 31 are picked via their conferences, with every conference except for the Ivy League one having conference championship tournaments to pick the winner. The other 37 teams are picked via a selection committee chosen by the NCAA which ranks all the teams per four different regions.
The first round of the Big Dance college basketball tournament features four games, with the four lowest-ranked at-large picks and the four lowest-ranked conference picks facing off in four games. The games are played in four regions. The second round winnows the tournament down to 32, and the next round makes it 16 teams. Sweet Sixteen is known as the following round, then the Elite Eight, then the Final Four – those names all delineate how many teams are playing in each round. Whoever is still left standing at the end is the winner of the Big Dance. The tournament resembles dancing in one way – teams face a different partner in each round of the college basketball tournament, and it’s like a dance marathon in that whoever is left standing at the end is the ultimate winner.
Interest in the NCAA Big Dance has increased in recent years due to two things – fan interest for particular teams, like Duke, North Carolina, Texas, and the like has grown. But the second, and arguably larger reason, for interest in the tournament has been the increase in interest in college basketball fans. So many people participate in filling out brackets each year to win cash and prizes, that it has become a new American pastime of its own.
Speaking of cash and prizes, we here at Draft Street offer college fantasy basketball leagues, where you can win big bucks just by playing fantasy sports. The way it works is that you play in a salary draft league -- you have a budget and pick college basketball players to fit within the budget. With DraftStreet, you can either play for free and win points, or play for pay and potentially win money, just from your knowledge of the Big Dance!
The NCAA Big Dance is something people watch every spring, and the college basketball tournament usually coincides with the beginning of another American pastime – the baseball season!