Average total points in March Madness final: How to score your NCAA Tournament bracket tiebreaker based on history

March is here, and you know what that means: It’s time to start filling out some brackets.

The beauty of the NCAA Tournament is that you can throw out everything that happened in the regular season for the 68 competitors. Experts are made to look like fools with their predictions, while casual fans can come out as geniuses — and vice versa. 

That’s what makes March Madness so special. Quite literally anyone can end up with the best bracket.

While viewers are gaining as much last-minute knowledge on teams as possible before they fill out their brackets, the last part of the tournament challenge presents a different problem. As a potential tiebreaker, many bracket competitions ask users to predict the final score of the championship game.

So what does an average NCAA Tournament championship final score look like? Here are some details to know about the history of such final tallies in order to win the bracket tiebreaker.

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Average total points in March Madness final games

When looking at the total points scored in the final game of March Madness, an opportune starting point is the introduction of the 3-point shot. It wasn’t until 1987 that the extra point for shots from beyond the arc was introduced.

With that in mind, the average total score for NCAA Tournament championships between 1987 to 2023 comes to 145.1 points.

That can be rounded down to 145. That total would amount to an average of 72.5 per competitor, which can be rounded up to 73.

PRINTABLE: Downland a blank March Madness bracket here

Average college basketball game score

While there is plenty of madness that occurs in March, the average final score remains relatively the same compared to the regular season.

On average, an NCAA basketball team scores between 72 and 75 points per game. So when looking at the total score for a game (with two teams competing), that would translate to an average total somewhere between 145 and 150 points. 

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List of NCAA Tournament championship scores

Year Final Score Total Points
2023 UConn 79, San Diego State 59 138
2022 Kansas 72, UNC 69 141
2021 Baylor 86, Gonzaga 70 146
2020 No tournament (COVID) N/A
2019 Virginia 85, Texas Tech 77 (OT) 162
2018 Villanova 79, Michigan 62 141
2017 UNC 71, Gonzaga 65 136
2016 Villanova 77, UNC 74 151
2015 Duke 68, Wisconsin 63 131
2014 UConn 60, Kentucky 54 114
2013 Louisville 82, Michigan 76 158
2012 Kentucky 67, Kansas 59 126
2011 UConn 53, Butler 41 94
2010 Duke 61, Butler 59 120
2009 UNC 89, Michigan State 72 161
2008 Kansas 75, Memphis 68 (OT) 143
2007 Florida 84, Ohio State 75 159
2006 Florida 73, UCLA 57 140
2005 UNC 75, Illinois 70 145
2004 UConn 82, Georgia Tech 73 155
2003 Syracuse 81, Kansas 78 159
2002 Maryland 64, Indiana 52 106
2001 Duke 82, Arizona 72 154
2000 Michigan State 89, Florida 76 165
1999 UConn 77, Duke 74 151
1998 Kentucky 78, Utah 69 147
1997 Arizona 84, Louisville 79 (OT) 163
1996 Kentucky 76, Syracuse 67 143
1995 UCLA 89, Arkansas 78 167
1994 Arkansas 76, Duke 72 148
1993 UNC 77, Michigan 71 148
1992 Duke 71, Michigan 51 122
1991 Duke 72, Kansas 65 137
1990 UNLV 103, Duke 73 186
1989 Michigan 80, Seton Hall 79 (OT) 159
1988 Kansas 83, Oklahoma 79  162
1987 Indiana 74, Syracuse 73 144

HISTORY OF UPSETS BY SEED:
16 vs. 1 | 15 vs. 2 | 14 vs. 3 | 13 vs. 4 | 12 vs. 5

Who will win March Madness 2024? 

Here are the latest college basketball betting odds to win the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament as of March 20, according to BetMGM.

School Odds
UConn +400
Houston +600
Purdue +650
Arizona +1100
North Carolina +1300
Tennessee +1500
Auburn +1700
Iowa State +1800
Kentucky +2500
Marquette +2500
Creighton +2500
Duke +3000
Illinois +3000
Baylor +3500
Alabama +4000
Kansas +4000
Gonzaga +6000
Florida +6000
Saint Mary’s (CA) +6600
BYU +6600
Wisconsin +8000
Michigan State +10000
Florida Atlantic +10000
Texas Tech +10000
San Diego State +10000
Texas +12500
New Mexico +12500
Utah State +12500
TCU +15000
Mississippi State +15000
Washington State +15000
Clemson +15000
Nevada +15000
Nebraska +15000
Colorado State +15000
Texas A&M +20000
Colorado +20000
NC State +20000
South Carolina +20000
Dayton +20000
Oregon +25000
Northwestern +25000
Drake +25000
Boise State +30000
Grand Canyon +30000
McNeese State +35000
Yale +50000
Duquesne +50000
UAB +50000
Samford +100000
Morehead State +100000
Oakland +100000
Charleston +100000
Vermont +100000
Akron +100000
Western Kentucky +100000
Long Beach State +100000
Grambling +100000
Stetson +200000
Wagner +200000
S. Dakota State +200000
Colgate +200000
Montana State +200000
Saint Peters +200000

More March Madness bracket predictions 

The Sporting News experts gave their knowledgeable opinions on the tournament, both for the men’s and women’s tournament. Check out their predictions:

EXPERT PICKS: Bender (UConn) | DeCourcy (UConn) | Iyer (UConn) | Yanchulis (South Carolina women)

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