History of March Madness by Abby Paff

The National College Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament began in March of 1939, and March madness was born. Throughout the month of March, there is college basketball going on all the time, so many teams work hard all year just to get into the NCAA tournament. March madness is an important time for basketball fans because they can cheer on their favorite teams and root for the underdogs. The Ohio State University was the first team to ever win a National Championship. They defeated Oregon 46-33 in 1939, creating history in college basketball. While March Madness has underdogs in the tournament every year, experts always predict similar teams to win.

During the first twelve years of the NCAA tournament only eight teams were invited to play. However, now 64 teams play each year with 16 teams per bracket division. The regions of the bracket are East, South, Midwest, and West. The four winning teams of each division advance to the final four and continue to play for the National Championship. The most successful team in men’s basketball history is UCLA. They won eleven championships, and ten of the championships have been under legendary coach, John Wooden between 1964 to 1975. The second most successful team in men’s basketball history is University of Kentucky, winning seven championships.

During March, brackets are created and many people in America place bets on various teams. According to sports journalist, Michael Beller, “By 2005, college basketball has become the most popular sporting event for gamblers, after the Super Bowl.” Numerous people try to create the perfect bracket during the tournament in order to win money. They place bets and gamble on the many different teams. This year many gamblers have predicted Duke, Gonzaga, Villanova, and Virginia to be the final four teams in the tournament; however, anything is possible during these games. Gary Parrish, college basketball insider says, “Duke was my preseason No. 1 because the Blue Devils have the nation’s most talented roster and the greatest of all time of college basketball coaching on the sideline. And though the Blue Devils certainly had their questionable moments this season, the truth is that they’re now third in offensive efficiency, seventh in defensive efficiency and very much capable of winning six games in this NCAA Tournament.” Parrish believes Duke is a great team that will most likely win the tournament because they are hardworking and dedicated to the game.

March madness is not only a time for fans, but it is an extremely important time for players and coaches. Teams give all their effort to play basketball and never want to lose. Ever since 1939, college basketball has continued to grow and gain a fan base. March madness is an exciting time of year for many people and the history will continue growing.









Works Cited

Beller, Michael. “Bracket Watch: Latest Projection of Field of 68.” SI.com, 26 Feb. 2018,


“March Madness is Born.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2018,


Parrish, Gary. “NCAA Tournament Expert Brackets: March Madness Title Picks.”

CBSSports.com, 19 Mar. 2018 https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/ncaa-tournament-expert-brackets-march-madness-title-picks/


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