In April 2010, the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee was charged by the Division I Board of Directors to determine the new 68-team format for the championship. From there, the committee actively solicited input from the NCAA membership. During its annual summer meeting, the committee reviewed and analyzed options and benefits of each of them.
When the Mountain West Conference was created in 1999, NCAA membership chose to add a 65th team to the tournament, creating a single opening-round game starting in 2001. Expanding to 68 teams in 2011 allows for all four regions of the championship to be balanced in size, with 31 conference automatic qualifiers and 37 at-large selections - four more than the traditional 64-team configuration.
In accordance with the bracketing procedures, teams will continue to be assigned to the closest available geographic location while avoiding regular-season rematches and conference opponents to the extent possible.