The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was created more than eight decades ago by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The NCAA is fully dedicated to the lifelong success of college athletes in its three divisions, awarding close to $3.5 billion in athletic scholarships every year. Over 500,000 NCAA college athletes make up 19,886 teams and 57,661 participants, competing in 90 championships across 24 sports.
The Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is by far the most popular sporting event of the year. It involves 68 teams from 350 schools and tens of millions of sports betters in bracket pool contests each year.
The single-elimination basketball tournament is the final stage of the NCAA season. The 2022 tournament introduced several NBA and WNBA prospects for the upcoming draft. Let's take a closer look at this year's March Madness that once again set the online sports betting scene on fire.
It all seemed lost for the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks after being 15 points down at halftime during the final game at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. However, the Jayhawks managed to pull off the biggest comeback in tournament history and beat the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels 72 – 69, claiming the school’s fourth national title.
The Jayhawks scored 47 points in the last two quarters. David McCormack threw in the last 4 points. Speaking of McCormack, he had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, similar to Christian Braun, with 12-12 in the double-double stats. Overall, North Carolina had more free throws with 81.9% to 57.1%, while gathering 55 rebounds compared to Kansas' 35 rebounds.
The finals game looked entirely different for Kansas compared to the experience in the semifinal where it played against Villanova. The latter didn’t stand a chance then, with Kansas triumphing by 81 – 65. Ochai Agbaji from the Kansas Jayhawks was rewarded with the title of the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. The guard scored 12 points and 3 rebounds in what will get remembered as a legendary March Madness game.
During the NCAA tournament, the University of Kansas had a respectable 77 points per game, shooting 47% from the paint. North Carolina had a better stats record for the competition, averaging 82 points with 43% effectiveness. North Carolina was also the best rebounding team, scoring 241 offensive and defensive rebounds. The Wildcats also recorded an average of 16.8 assists per game, while the University of Miami lost during the fifth round with 15 assists per game.
The University of Duke made it to the final four but lost the semi-finals round to North Carolina, scoring 77 to 81. The popular Blue Devils scored 79.2 points per game, averaging 6 three-pointers, 9.4 offensive rebounds, and 13.4 assists.
The Target Center in Minneapolis hosted this year’s NCAA Women's Final Four tournament. Although many thought the University of Connecticut would take home the 12th trophy, it was the University of South Carolina that was victorious. The team beat the Gamecocks 64 to 49 and won its second title. Gamecock's leading scorer Aliyah Boston was voted the Most Outstanding Player. No surprise there after seeing her 29th double-double this season. Gamecock's was one of the best rebounders in the league, with 16 possessions under the rim.
Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers managed to overcome last year's knee injury and brought a fair share of 17.7 points per game along with four assists. The other two teams in Minnesota’s Final Four were Stanford and Louisville. While Louisville pulled off a good game against South Carolina, the scoreboard showed 59 – 72 in favor of the Huskies. The Stanford vs. Connecticut game ended 58 – 63.
Americans wagered more than 3 billion dollars on this year's NCAA tournament. The Final Four and the National Championship Game were broadcast by TBS. The tournament began on March 15 and it attracted the attention of a huge number of bettors who used land and online sportsbooks or the best sports betting apps to place their bets. This year's March Madness also gathered 13 upsets, which are events where the winner of a game was seeded at least five places lower than the team that was defeated.
This year’s tournament was a great experience for sports fans and passionate bettors alike to enjoy the much-anticipated comeback of the standard format of the event for the first time since 2019. The 2020 March Madness was canceled due to harsh Covid-19 restrictions, while last year's tournament was held in just one location due to similar limitations.