Basketball is the second most popular sport in the USA, but according to statistics offered by the National Sporting Goods Association, more people in America play basketball than any other team sport, which means that tournaments and championships take place at different levels: high-school, college, national level.
Below we make a brief presentation of some of the most important basketball championships in the USA.
- NCAA Tournament
The NCAA Tournament (National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Championship) is an annual tournament with a single-elimination structure organized for men’s college basketball teams in the United States. The winner of the tournament becomes the champion of Division I, which is the higher tier in the NCAA.
The very first edition of this tournament was held in 1939, and while in its early days only eight teams were competing for the title, at the moment no less than sixty-eight teams participate in the competition. The winning team is awarded a wooden gold-plated trophy.
The semifinals, also known as the Final Four, along with the championship game, take place in a different location every year, but Indianapolis – the NCAA’s homeland – is set to host these stages of the sporting event every five years until 2040.
- USA Basketball U.S. Open Basketball Championships
Another US-based basketball competition for youth is the USA Basketball U.S. Open Basketball Championships. This one gives youth the chance to compete under the National Governing Body’s guidelines and regulations.
This year, the U.S. Open Basketball Championships will take place in Westfield, in Hamilton, Indiana, and will include teams from the 8th grade division, as well as 13U and 12U divisions, with championship tournaments for both boys’ and girls’ teams. First and second place winners in each division in the U.S. Open Official Qualifiers will automatically have a place in the championships.
USA Basketball claims their aim is to create a tournament with an inclusive structure that will best adapt to the current needs of youth basketball teams in the United States. This year, the tournament also serves as the qualification stage for the USA Basketball 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships.
- FIBA AmeriCup
The FIBA AmeriCup is another important competition for American basketball teams. It used to be called the FIBA Americas Championship and is held biennially. National teams from countries in Northern America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America compete in this tournament, as FIBA decided to group countries from the Western Hemisphere under one zone for the competition.
The United States team has a great record when it comes to this tournament, as they ended up taking the trophy home seven times.
In the past, the championship also served as a qualifying stage for the FIBA World Cup and the Summer Olympic Games, but this has no longer been the case since 2017.