Valencia College, Lake Nona Campus

“March Madness for Dummies”

Many people have no idea what march madness is or where it came from. The history of the tournament dates back to 1908. The tournament first started in Illinois as a small invitational tournament with high school boy’s basketball teams. The tournament grew from there to include over 900 schools and take place in the University of Illinois’ Huff Gymnasium.

In that time period there was no television. College games weren’t very popular and professional leagues had not really established a place in the major cities, so the tournament would draw sell crowds. The name for the tournament came from Henry V. Porter, the assistant executive secretary of the Illinois High School Association. He wrote an essay describing the tournament and how fascinated he was by it and named the essay March Madness. The essay appeared in the Illinois Interscholastic in 1939.

From there, the name became very popular and became the name for the tournament because, for one, a lot of madness happened during the event and, two, the tournament always takes place in March. The term became the official name for the high school tournament in 1973.

As the competition grew, it soon advanced from the original tournament to a different type of tournament today. The term was taken over in 1982 for the NCAA Basketball tournament when a CBS reporter name Brent Musburger used the term during his telecast of the college match. From there, the name moved from high school basketball to the college basketball.

Today, an Elite Eight of teams move on to the finals. There are sixty-eight teams which includes over thirty conferences from three divisions. There are four parts to each bracket and the teams that play the best throughout the season get picked by a selection committee comprised of different university athletic directors and conference commissioners to play the weaker teams early in the bracket.

This year, the tournament has challenged many universities and is now down to the final four. The competition for the 2016 title is only three games away. On April 2, the Villanova Wildcats will face the Oklahoma Sooners, and the North Carolina Tar Heels will go up against the Syracuse Orange. The winner of those games will determine who goes on to the championship, which will be played on April 4th. The tournament is getting down to its final game, don’t miss it!

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