How Long Is a College Basketball Game?

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Emoni Bates fundamentally altered the college basketball betting odds for an otherwise forgettable Eastern Michigan program.
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BetMGM @BETMGM Nov 16, 2022, 2:06 PM
  • College basketball games generally last about two hours.
  • Games can run for longer based on fouls, pace or overtime(s).
  • Media timeouts can also stretch out the length of a game.

College basketball is back. That means the return of basketball betting odds for the 363 Division 1 college basketball programs currently competing for a championship.

During this part of the calendar, time is especially tight. Many sports fans are already spending hours watching football on the weekend; now, they’re reserving blocks of time on random Tuesday nights for college basketball, too.

All that brings us to a key question, sometimes asked by incredulous, exasperated spouses. Exactly how long is a college basketball game?

How Long is a College Basketball Game?

The average college basketball game runs for about two hours, varying slightly based on the pace of the game and the number of fouls committed in the final minutes. 

NCAA Basketball TV Schedule Can Affect Game Time

The length of a college basketball game can absolutely be affected by its media coverage. 

There are typically eight media timeouts in any men’s college basketball game, called at the first stoppage of play after the 16-minute, 12-minute, 8-minute and 4-minute marks of both halves. 

These media timeouts may drag on for several minutes in a game with a heavy broadcast component, like the national championship

Media timeouts can go much quicker for a game that’s broadcast on a local channel or limited to radio. 

How Many Minutes Are College Basketball Games?

Men’s college basketball games are 40 minutes long with two 20-minute halves.

From 1951-54, games were played with four quarters, and while there have been brief periods of experimentation with four 10-minute quarters in exhibition games, the two-half format has remained for the last 70 years.

If a game is tied after the two 20-minute halves, a five-minute overtime will be played.

How Long Are Women’s College Basketball Games?

Women’s games are also 40 minutes but are divided into four ten-minute quarters. There has been some talk within the men’s side of moving to quarters, but there are currently no plans to do so at this time.

When Are College Basketball TV Timeouts?

There are eight TV timeouts in all college basketball games broadcasted on TV.

Those timeouts, i.e., commercial breaks, take place approximately every four minutes. The initial break comes at the first whistle under 16 minutes, then 12 minutes, and so on. A college basketball game will take roughly two hours to complete in real-time.

College Basketball Streams

College basketball can be tricky to watch because there are so many games and so many potential locations for streams.

FBS college football has 131 teams and mainly takes place on two platforms – ESPN or Fox – with occasional games on ABC, CBS or conference-affiliated channels filling out the remainder of the slate. 

College basketball, by comparison, has well over 300 teams at the Division I level with no higher or lower subdivisions. Games are split onto random channels (FloSports? Root? Skyline?) that many college basketball fans don’t subscribe to or can’t access. 

Because of this, there’s a huge demand (especially among the college basketball betting odds community) for college basketball streams. Reddit, in particular, loves to hunt for new ways to catch the games. 

College Basketball Odds

With the 2022 college basketball season coming into focus, there is a great deal of focus on the college basketball betting market, which is alive and well at the BetMGM online sportsbook.

Many of the early NCAA basketball championship favorites include Gonzaga, Houston and North Carolina – all of whom have shown huge success and/or impressive tournament runs in recent years.

College Basketball Predictions

For those interested in learning more about how to bet on college basketball effectively, make sure you check out The Lion’s Edge for intelligent, weekly insights into trends and betting tips across the online sports betting world. 

The Lion’s Edge is available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

You can also listen to it in the web player below.

College Basketball Parlays at BetMGM

From early-season tournaments through the national championship, you can bet on college basketball parlays at the best online sportsbook.

With daily basketball odds, tournament betting, and more, the best parlay betting experience is at BetMGM.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.