March Madness and NCAA tournament history: What to know

ByAlex Kennedy ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024

There's nothing quite like March Madness. Every year, millions of sports fans fill out a bracket and turn their attention to the soap opera that is college basketball.

To celebrate this time of year, we put together this March Madness guide with everything you need to know about the NCAA tournament. Click each question to find the complete answer!

Who has made the most consecutive tournament appearances?

In men's college basketball, Kansas holds the record for most consecutive men's NCAA tournament appearances, with 28 straight trips to the Big Dance from 1990 to 2017. The longest active streak belongs to Michigan State, as the Spartans have made 26 straight appearances.

In women's college basketball, Tennessee's active streak of 42 straight tournament appearances is also the all-time record.

Which school has won the most national championships?

In men's college basketball, there's only one program with double-digit national championships: the UCLA Bruins. From 1964 to 1975, legendary head coach John Wooden led UCLA to 10 titles, and then the Bruins added an 11th championship in 1995. There are six schools with at least five titles.

In women's college basketball, the UConn Huskies are the winningest program. From 1995 to 2016, the Huskies won 11 titles. There are four schools with at least three titles.

What are the highest-scoring March Madness games?

The highest-scoring game occurred in 1990, with Loyola Marymount and Michigan combining for a whopping 264 points. LMU's 149 points are still a March Madness record, and the circumstances surrounding that game make the point total (and LMU's Cinderella run) even more astounding.

Which player scored the most points in an NCAA tournament game?

During the first round of the 1970 NCAA tournament, Notre Dame's Austin Carr scored 61 points in a 112-82 win over Ohio. He shot 25-of-44 from the field (56.8%) and 11-of-14 from the free throw line (78.6%). That season, Carr averaged 38.1 points.

In women's college basketball, the single-game scoring record belongs to Drake's Lori Bauman, who recorded 50 points in a loss to Maryland in the West Regional final of the 1982 NCAA tournament.

What are the biggest March Madness upsets of all time (by seeding)?

There have been two 16-over-1 upsets in the first round of the men's NCAA tournament: No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson beat No. 1 Purdue in 2023 and No. 16 UMBC beat No. 1 Virginia in 2018. There have also been 11 instances of a 15-seed defeating a 2-seed.

The first 16-over-1 upset happened in the women's NCAA tournament, when 16-seed Harvard upset 1-seed Stanford in 1998.

What is the lowest seed to reach each round of the NCAA tournament?

There's nothing better than a Cinderella run during the NCAA tournament.

Which teams have been No. 1 seeds?

Top contenders have amazed fans for decades since the full seeding for the men's NCAA tournament began in 1979.

What buzzer-beaters happened over the past decade?

The past 10 years have offered dazzling men's tournament buzzer-beaters from SDSU, Gonzaga, Michiganand more.

Which teams have made the most Final Four appearances?

In men's college basketball, North Carolina holds the record for most Final Four appearances with 21. In women's college basketball, UConn holds the record with 23.

Which head coaches have won the most NCAA tournaments?

Geno Auriemma's 11 national championships with UConn are the most of any head coach in women's college basketball history, and college basketball history in general. John Wooden has the most titles among men's head coaches, as he won 10 championships in 12 years at UCLA (including seven in a row).

Who has won the national championship each year?

Here are all-time NCAA men's national champions and NCAA women's national champions.

Check out ESPN's men's college basketball page for breaking news,March Madness analysis, in-depth features, recruiting content, and more.

Check out ESPN's women's college basketball page for breaking news,March Madness analysis, in-depth features, recruiting content, and more.