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Basketball is a limited-contact sport played on a rectangular court. While most often played as a team sport with five players on each side, three-on-three, two-on-two, and one-on-one competitions are also common. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet high that is mounted to a backboard at each end of the court. The game is very popular as a recreational, college and professional sports. It is played by both men and women.
A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket being defended by the opposition team during regular play. A field goal scores three points for the shooting team if the player shoots from behind the three-point line, and two points if shot from in front of the line. A team can also score via free throws, which are worth one point, after the other team is assessed with certain fouls. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) is mandated when the score is tied at the end of regulation. The ball can be advanced on the court by passing it to a teammate, or by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling).
Basketball is one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition.
At the college level, nearly every college in America has a basketball team. They are organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) into one of three Division based on a number of factors including number of students and past performance. Division 1 is the highest level of competition. Teams play for an annual National Championship, which begins at regional levels and to determine the top four college teams which then compete in a Final Four competition. The top two teams from that event play for the National Championship.
For fans, trying to guess which of 64 teams will make it to the Final Four has become a major social activity. Its rapid growth and social media have created a frenzy called March Madness, which is now used to promote the coverage of all games on national television in the USA.