March Madness is like the Super Bowl of basketball, except instead of lasting for 4 hours it lasts for 3 weeks. Widespread TV markdowns and snack commercials in constant rotation mark the signal that March Madness has arrived! There is so much buzz around this time of year, especially when our Buckeyes are in the tournament.
I got great feedback from you guys on how helpful you found our football guide, so now Ryan is back and we are rolling out a basketball guide! Something to note, college basketball and the NBA have some differences in rules; this basketball guide is geared toward the college rules… We wouldn’t want to be responsible for anyone embarrassing themselves in an NBA setting while referencing your newfound knowledge. 😉
So here we go. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, we’re going to hit on the basics here that will help you survive March Madness and hopefully, actually enjoy it!
A College basketball game is 40 minutes long, made up of two 20 minute halves.
The referee’s whistle signals it’s game time. All play throughout the game starts or stops with a whistle.
Like in any team sport, there is offense and defense.
There are multiple ways that a player can score…
Shooting a basket. The player throws or dunks the ball into the… basket. 2 points.
A 3 point shot is made when the player shoots from anywhere behind the line indicated below. Since it’s a tougher shot, it’s worth an extra point. Important: if even the tip of the player’s toe is on the red line, it counts as a regular 2-point basket; the player’s feet must both be outside of the line.
Free throws. When a player is fouled while attempting a shot, that player gets the opportunity to attempt 2 shots from the free throw line. 1 free throw is worth 1 point. If the player was attempting a 3-point shot, they get 3 free throw attempts.
A free throw in action:
Bonus: Once a team has been fouled 6 times, they will have the opportunity to go to the free throw line to shoot 1 and 1 for any fouls after 6, even if they are fouled while NOT attempting a shot.
1 and 1: When shooting 1 and 1, if the first free throw attempt is made, the player will get another free throw attempt. If they miss the 1st shot, they ball is up for grabs and they don’t get a second shot.
Double-bonus: Once a team has been fouled 10 times, they get 2 free throw shots for every time they are fouled over 10, even if the 1st one is missed.
So that’s the gist of scoring.
What happens when a shot is missed…
Rebound: the offense and the defense grapple for the ball in hopes to gain possession.
A game would be boring with no rules, right? Here are the ways that a team can lose possession of the ball:
Foul: Illegal personal contact with a player on the opposing team. You will see the ref motion the player’s jersey number with his hands, and the guilty player will likely resemble this guy ⇓.
Charge: A type of foul where the player with the ball makes illegal contact with a defensive player, like the way the Kentucky player below charges into his opponent.
Technical foul: Penalty that doesn’t have to involve physical contact, represented by the referee forming a “T” with his hands. Technical fouls might be called in instances of unsportsman like conduct, such as mouthing off to the ref, players fighting, or even the coach flying off the handle.
Traveling: The player takes multiple steps, or shuffles their feet before starting a dribble. That walk and dribble simultaneously thing takes coordination!
Shot clock violation: Once a team takes possession of the ball, they have 35 seconds to shoot. If the shot clock buzzes and they haven’t shot, they lose possession. The shot clock can be seen above the basket.
Let’s breakdown the scoreboard; your cheat sheet, if you will. Don’t worry; I completely understand that if you don’t know basketball, this score board may feel like you’re trying to read the stock market ticker on CNBC (or whatever else looks like another language for you). We will decipher it for you, visual style.
Although every school’s scoreboard is a little different in appearance, as long as you know what the information means you can follow any of them.
Almost all of the stats on the scoreboard are the same on the right and left side; in this example, the left side is the home team’s stats/score and the right side is the away team’s stats/score.
The possession indicator points to which team gets the ball following a jump ball (when 2 players are fighting over the ball and don’t let it go).
1 bonus arrow lit means bonus, 2 bonus arrows mean double bonus.
So what do you think? Are you ready for some March Madness?! You can get your own printable NCAA tournament bracket right here. The tournament is a lot more fun to watch when you have a team to root for.
If you’re unsure how to fill out the bracket, you can peep at Ryan’s below as an example. He said he doesn’t even mind if you copy his picks. 😉
We hope you enjoy the Madness of March, and Go Bucks!