Sports 101

The whistling of referees, the squeak of sneakers, and the roar of the crowd mean that basketball fever is definitely in the air. It's time for "March Madness," the popular name for the end-of-season National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. Each team's hope is to get to the Final Four. The NCAA will fill out the 64-team draw this Sunday.

Q: How are the 64 teams chosen?

A: Some tournament berths (or positions) are filled through automatic qualification (such as teams that have already won their conference). But election criteria also rely on a team's win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, and results against nationally rated teams.

Q: The NCAA Men's/ Women's Division I Basketball Committees choose the 64 teams, but who serves on these committees and how are members chosen?

A: According to Julie Quickel, committee coordinator of the NCAA, each committee is a nine-member body. They are appointed by a group of 34 administrators from Division I-A, I-AA, I-AAA. Each member serves a four-year term, and every year there is about a 25 percent turnover.

The members are usually athletic administrators or conference commissioners. Rules are the same for the men's and women's committees, except that for the women's committee, two members are selected from each of four regions, with one member selected at large.

Q: What is the Final Four?

A: This term refers to the four regional champions (West, East, Midwest, and Southeast) remaining after the 64 teams have competed in the tournament. They play one another to determine the national champion.

Q: When and where will the Final Four compete?

A: On March 28 and 30, the Final Four men's teams will battle it out at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The women's teams will go head to head March 27 and 29 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

Q: What school has participated in the most NCAA basketball tournaments?

A: The University of Kentucky leads the way with 39 appearances. They've made it to the Final Four 12 times and have been crowned champions six times.

Q: How is a host city chosen?

A: Cities put in bids early because the location is chosen about four years in advance. Some of the top determining factors include a stadium's seating capacity and facility availability.

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