Sports Reference Blog

Enhancements to NCAA Tournament Game Finder

Posted by Mike Lynch on January 25, 2018

If you're like me, you were a bit annoyed when the NCAA made the decision to re-name several of the early rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. All of a sudden, the First Round had become the Second Round and the Second Round had become the Third Round. The First Round, meanwhile, had become what we'd previously derided as play-in games (or what been officially known as the Opening Round). Talking about the tournament with friends somehow became a frustrating exercise, as the common nomenclature had been ruined. It was impossible to clearly communicate with people what round you were actually referring to. Notes like "Team X has won Y straight First Round games" now didn't make much sense. This also made it very difficult to run searches as intended in our NCAA Tournament Game Finder tool.

Fortunately, the NCAA corrected its mistake by returning to the original round names in 2016, but the damage was done. From 2011-2015, the Round of 64 and Round of 32 had different names than they'd had for all other years.

However, we've now upgraded our round search in the NCAA Tournament Game Finder to make it possible to run the searches that NCAA Tournament buffs actually want to run.

We have added the following list of options in addition to the standard Round name searches:

      • Early Rounds: This includes any sub-regional action such as the Opening Round (1983-84; 2001-10), the First Four (2016-Pres.), the First Round (1951; 1953-Pres.), the Second Round (1979-Pres.) and the Third Round (2011-15).
      • First Four (2011-Pres.): In addition to the First Four search noted above for 2016 to present, we have included a version of the First Four search which also includes what was known as the "First Round" from 2011-15. These are the games that happen prior to the Round of 64 that have been played in Dayton, OH. Sometimes casually referred to as "play-in games", teams like 2011 VCU have proved that these teams are often very legit. Please note that this search DOES NOT include the Dayton games known as the Opening Round from 2001-10, which just included the two worst 16 seeds.
      • Round of 64 (1985-Pres.): This search allows you to run searches specifically for what has been known as the First Round since 1985, save for the period from 2011-15 when it was known as the Second Round. Running this search will allow the user to find games from rounds where 32 games were played, involving all 64 remaining tournament teams.
      • Round of 32 (1975-Pres.): Similar to the Round of 64 search, this returns results for the round with 32 remaining teams in the field. This includes First Round games from 1975-78, Second Round games from 1979-2010, Third Round games from 2011-15 and Second Round games from 2016 to present.
      • Regionals: This search includes all Regional Semifinals, Regional Finals and Regional Third Place games.
      • Final Four: This search includes all National Semifinals, National Finals and National Third Place games.

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