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Bracket Reveal: Date, how to watch, history & tradition

Selection Sunday is one of the staples of the NCAAB Championship, with the entire field and tournament bracket revealed just days ahead of the tournament.

A week before the tournament starts, teams battle it out in their conferences, pushing for a championship which books their place at the NCAAB Championship.

The Bracket Reveal will tell us which teams have joined the 32 conference winners, which can often prove controversial.

Of course, once the bracket is unveiled, we can start making predictions for each section in search of the elusive perfect bracket.

Below is all you need to know about Selection Sunday and the Bracket Reveal as we count down to the NCAAB Championship.

WhatNCAAB Championship Bracket Reveal
WhenSunday 12th March - Monday 13th March
How to watchBT Sport

What is the NCAAB Championship Bracket Reveal?

Once the conference titles have been claimed, 36 spots at the NCAAB Championship will be up for grabs. With only one day between many of those conference finals and Selection Sunday, the only way to fill those places is by picking teams.

Selection Sunday sees the NCAA Selection Committee compare teams which failed to make the cut to choose who will be invited to compete. These are known as at-large teams.

These teams will be judged off their regular season record, which involves a 10-person committee comparing wins and losses, the relative strength of the conference, the margins of victory or defeat and the offensive and defensive statistics of contenders.

There's no limit to how many sides from a single conference can make the cut, which means there are a lot of teams in the running to be selected among those 36 at-large teams.

Once the full field is set, teams are ranked 1-68 to decide who goes into the First Four, before being ranked 1-16 in four regional splits.

It took on huge significance after ESPN's first Selection Sunday show in 1980. Since then it's gone from strength to strength, pulling in millions of viewers for what is technically a fixture reveal.

However, there's much more drama to it than just a slate of fixtures. As soon as the bracket is revealed and teams know if they've made the cut, the debate begins.

There will always be sides who feel hard done by and underachievers who somehow made it through.

From there, studio guests, coaches and people around the world will start filling in brackets. Once the full bracket is out, the race is on to call the tournament's biggest upset before it happens.

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How does the NCAAB Bracket work?

After moving to a 64-team tournament in 1985, the NCAAB Championship has expanded to 68 teams since. However, in order to keep the neat 64-team bracket that people love to fill out, another round was added.

The tournament opens with the First Four, eight sides who are battling to make it to the first round. These are the four lowest-ranked conference winners and the four lowest-ranked at-large teams.

The Bracket Reveal also gives us what is known as the Road to the Final Four. That's the East, West, South and Midwest regional routes to the Final Four.

Each of those regions will feature 16 teams which are ranked 1-16. Those teams will play each other with the 1-seed meeting the 16-seed, the 2-seed meeting the 15-seed and so on.

Once that's settled, the bracket is whittled down from 64 through to the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight and the Final Four.

When is the NCAAB Championship Bracket Reveal?

The Bracket Reveal for the men's and women's tournaments is on Sunday, with the men up first at 23:00, followed by the women's tournament at 01:00 on Monday morning.

Once the bracket has been finalised, eyes will turn to the First Four clashes on Tuesday 14th March and Wednesday 15th March, before the first round kicks off the following day.

Which teams should I look out for in the Bracket Reveal?

Given how 1-seeds have dominated the tournament in recent years, with 24 of the last 37 winners being the regional top seed, they're the sides to watch out for.

The defending champion Kansas Jayhawks are the projected top seed overall, with Alabama, Houston and UCLA expected to complete the regional 1-seeds.

Of course, the NCAAB Championship is prone to surprises and Cinderella runs, so it's always worth looking around to see if you can find the next one.

While the lowest-ranked team to make the Final Four was an 11-seed, in 2022 the 15-seed St Peter's went close with an Elite Eight exit after some impressive upsets.

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