The 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament involved 68 teams playing in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division Icollege basketball. The 77th edition of the tournament began on March 17, 2015, and concluded with the championship game on April 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Duke defeated Wisconsin in the championship game, 68–63. Tyus Jones of Duke was the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
2015 NCAA Tournament schedule and venues
The following are the sites selected to host each round of the 2015 tournament:
Second and Third Rounds (Round of 64 and Round of 32)
- March 19 and 21
- March 20 and 22
Regional Semifinals and Finals (Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight)
- March 26 and 28
- March 27 and 29
National Semifinals and Championship (Final Four and Championship)
For the second time, Lucas Oil Stadium hosted the Final Four, marking the seventh time the NCAA's home city has hosted the tournament; it is scheduled to do so again in 2021. The 2015 tournament marked the first time since 2005 that no new venues were used, only the third time since 1950 that this has happened. As of 2018, this is the most recent tournament for Cleveland, Columbus, Jacksonville, Portland, Seattle or Syracuse; of these six cities, only Syracuse has not had its next tournament games scheduled.
Kentucky entered the tournament unbeaten. After 22 years without an unbeaten team in the tournament, following UNLV in 1991, this is the second consecutive tournament with an unbeaten team (after Wichita State in the previous). The Wildcats, by beating Cincinnati in the third round, set an NCAA men's record with 36 straight wins to start a season. They would win two more before Wisconsin upset them in the Final Four.
Defending national champion Connecticut did not qualify.
Kansas extended its streak of consecutive tournament appearances to 26 in a row. They have made each NCAA Tournament dating back to 1990. Kansas would qualify again the next two seasons to set the record for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances formerly held by North Carolina (1975–2001).
Atlantic Sun Conference champion North Florida, Big West Conference champion UC Irvine, and Mid-American Conference champion Buffalo made their first respective appearances in the Division I tournament.
With both Buffalo and Albany winning their respective conferences and reaching the tournament, this is the first time two schools in the State University of New York system have reached the Division I tournament in the same year.
Two teams broke appearance droughts of over 20 years with their bids: Colonial Athletic Association champion Northeastern made its first NCAA appearance since 1991, and American champion Southern Methodist made its first NCAA appearance since 1993.
Harvard and Yale played a one-game playoff at the Palestra. Harvard won in dramatic fashion.
Dayton played a First Four game at their home arena, which is usually not allowed during the men's tournament. The NCAA selection committee indicated that putting Dayton in its home arena "falls within the context" of the committee's procedures.
For the first time since 1995, two 14 seeds recorded wins in the Second Round. On March 19, Georgia State defeated Baylor and UAB defeated Iowa State.
Of the sixteen games played on March 19, five were decided by one point, a single-day record.
For the first time since 2007 and the fourth time since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, all four 5 seeds won their Second Round games. This was also the first time since 2007 that there were four 4 vs. 5 matchups in the Third Round.
On March 20, all but one "chalk" team won their game (there was only one upset), compared to the four upsets the previous day.
Michigan State reached its seventh Final Four in the last 18 seasons—the best mark in the nation during that time span.
For the first time since 2009, multiple 1 seeds reached the Final Four.
For the first time since 2008, two 1 seeds reached the Championship, between Kansas and Memphis (later vacated by Memphis).
Wisconsin was in its first final since 1941, and lost; and Duke in its first final since 2010, and won.
The Wisconsin loss extended the Big Ten Conference's losing streak in National Championship games to six. As of 2015, Michigan State is the last Big Ten team to win a National Championship, having done so in 2000.
Qualifying and selection procedure
Further information: NCAA basketball tournament selection process
Out of 333 eligible Division I teams, 68 participate in the tournament. Eighteen Division I teams were ineligible due to failing to meet APR requirements, self-imposed postseason bans, or reclassification from a lower division.
Of the 32 automatic bids, 31 were given to programs that won their conference tournaments. The Ivy League does not hold a tournament, and awards its bid to the team with the best regular-season record. However, whenever two or more teams are tied for the conference title, league rules call for a one-game playoff between the top two teams (or a series of such playoffs if more than two teams are tied), which occurred in this year. The remaining 36 bids were granted on an "at-large" basis, which were extended by the NCAA Selection Committee to the teams it deemed to be the best 36 teams that did not receive automatic bids.
Eight teams—the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers and the four lowest-seeded at-large teams—will play in the First Four (the successor to what had been popularly known as "play-in games" through the 2010 tournament). The winners of these games advance to the round of 64.
The Selection Committee will also seed the entire field from 1 to 68.
Further information: 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament: qualifying teams
The following teams are automatic qualifiers for the 2015 NCAA field by virtue of winning their conference's automatic bid.
*See First Four
Since the 2004 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the four 1 seeds have been seeded overall. This was the third time Kentucky was the overall top seed. The previous time was in that 2012 tournament. Duke was the overall 3 seed for the fourth time, previously advancing to the Final Four in two of those years: 2004 and 2010. Villanova was a 1 seed for the second time in school history; 2006 was the other time. This was the first 1 seed for Wisconsin.
* – Denotes overtime period
First Four – Dayton, Ohio
|March 17 – West Region|
Midwest Regional – Cleveland, Ohio
Round of 64
Round of 32
The 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament involved 64 teams playing in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion of men's NCAADivision Icollege basketball. It began on March 18, 2014, and concluded with the Connecticut Huskies winning the championship game on April 7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The East Regional semifinals and final were held in Madison Square Garden, the first time that arena has been used as an NCAA Tournament venue and the first time in 63 years that tournament games have been held in New York City.
With No. 7 seed Connecticut and No. 8 seed Kentucky reaching the championship game, this tournament's final was the first ever not to include at least one 1, 2, or 3 seed. It is also only the third final not to feature a 1 or 2 seed (1989 - #3 Michigan vs. #3 Seton Hall and 2011 - #3 Connecticut vs. #8 Butler). Connecticut was the first 7 seed ever to reach and win the championship game. The two teams combined for the highest seed total in championship game history with 15. The previous record (11) was held by Connecticut and Butler in 2011.
The next day, the UConn Huskies women's team won the women's NCAA basketball tournament, only the second time that a school has won both the men's and women's Division I national basketball championships in the same year; UConn first accomplished this in 2004.
The previous season, UConn was academically ineligible for the postseason.
Further information: NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship § Current tournament format
For 2014 the selection committee picked a total of 68 teams that would enter the 2014 tournament, of which 32 were "automatic bids" (teams winning their conference tournaments, with the exception of the Ivy League, which does not host a post-season conference tournament; thus, its regular-season conference champion is awarded the automatic bid) while the remaining 36 were "at large" bids which were extended by the NCAA Selection Committee on the Sunday preceding the First Four play-in tournament and dubbed Selection Sunday by the media and fans. The Selection Committee also seeded the entire field from 1 to 68.
Eight teams – the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers and the four lowest-seeded at-large teams – played in the First Four (the successor to what had been popularly known as "play-in games" through the 2010 tournament). The winners of those games advanced to the main draw of the tournament.
Wichita State became the first team since UNLV in 1991 to go into the tournament undefeated. The Shockers entered the tournament 34-0. Their perfect record of 35-0 (a then NCAA men's record) would be spoiled by Kentucky in the third round. Kentucky would set an NCAA-men's-record 38 straight wins to start a season the next year.
MEAC champion North Carolina Central University and Big West champion Cal Poly made their first NCAA Division I tournament appearances.
For only the second time since 1973 no teams from the state of Indiana (a state noted for its basketball powerhouse programs) were in the tournament.
There were five overtime games in the Second Round of the tournament, the most overtime games ever in tournament history. In contrast, the previous two tournaments had two overtime games combined.
North Dakota State's victory against Oklahoma secured the first tournament win for the state of North Dakota. Mercer, Stephen F. Austin, Albany, and Cal Poly had their first NCAA tournament wins. Cal Poly's victory over Texas Southern marked only the third time a team with a losing record won a game in the tournament.
Notable upsets included: Mercer over Duke; Dayton over Ohio State and, later, over Syracuse; North Dakota State over Oklahoma; Stephen F. Austin over VCU; Harvard over Cincinnati (its second-consecutive upset in as many years as a #12 seed); Stanford over Kansas; Kentucky over previously unbeaten Wichita State and, later, over Michigan; and UConn over Villanova and, later, over #1 overall seed Florida.
The National Championship game is the first one not to involve a 1, 2, or a 3 seed, and featured the two lowest seeds ever to meet (#7 UConn and #8 Kentucky). UConn was the first #7 seed to reach, and win, the championship game.
2014 NCAA Tournament schedule and venues
The following are the sites selected to host each round of the 2014 tournament:
Second and third rounds
- March 20 and 22
- First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York (Host: Canisius College, Niagara University)
- Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Host: Marquette University)
- Amway Center, Orlando, Florida (Host: Stetson University)
- Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, Washington (Host: Washington State University)
- March 21 and 23
Regional semifinals and finals (Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight)
- March 27 and 29
- March 28 and 30
National semifinals and championship (Final Four and Championship)
The city of Arlington became the 29th individual host city, and the AT&T Stadium became the 38th host venue, for the Final Four. The tournament featured three new venues in cities that had previously hosted tournament games. For the first time, games were played at the fourth Madison Square Garden, marking the first time in Manhattan since 1961 (when it was played at the previous Garden), and the first time in any borough of New York City since being played at Alumni Hall on the campus of St. John's University in Queens in 1974. The tournament also returned to Orlando for the first time since 2004, playing for the first time at the Amalie Center, the arena that replaced the former Amway Arena. And for the first time, the tournament was played at the AT&T Center, San Antonio's home to the Spurs. As of 2018, this marks the most recent time the tournament has been played at either the AT&T Stadium or the AT&T Center, with the latter scheduled to host games again in 2022.
Further information: 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament: qualifying teams
The following teams are automatic qualifiers for the 2014 NCAA field by virtue of winning their conference's tournament (except for the Ivy League, whose regular-season champion receives the automatic bid).
Florida was the overall 1 seed for the second time, the other being 2007 when they repeated as national champions. Arizona was a 1 seed for the 6th time in school history. They lost in the West regional final for the 3rd straight time as a 1 seed, all games being played in Anaheim (also in 1998 and 2003). Virginia was a 1 seed for the 4th time in school history, their first since three straight 1 seeds in 1981, 1982, and 1983.
* – Denotes overtime period
Unless otherwise noted, all times listed are Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-04)
First Four – Dayton, Ohio
|March 18 – Midwest Region|
|March 19 – Midwest Region|
South Regional – Memphis, Tennessee
Round of 64
Round of 32
|Orlando - Thu/Sat|
New York City