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The Magic of March Madness

Author: Skyla Burrell

March Madness, the Final Four, we have all heard these terms used to describe the NCAA men’s basketball tournament held in the United States each year in, you guessed it, March. Let’s take a look at where it began and where it is heading.

First let’s start with the NCAA, which is an acronym for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA is a non-profit group tasked with organizing athletic programs for many universities and colleges across the USA and Canada. Over 480,000 student-athletes benefit greatly from this organization, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The University of Oregon holds the distinction of being the very first NCAA men’s basketball tournament winner, defeating Ohio State by 13 points on March 27, 1939. Today, college basketball is the most popular sport among gamblers, and the 2019 tournament should produce some records due to the recent relaxation of sports betting rules in the United States. Most men’s college basketball wagers are placed during March Madness. So, for some lucky winners, it will be more like March Magic.

Other than being held in March, this writer wondered what, where, why, and when madness climbed aboard. It turns out, the NCAA tournament’s madness stems from Mr. Henry V. Porter who published an article in 1939 titled “March Madness” for his state-wide High School Basketball Association in Illinois (IHSA). He later followed up with another popular article titled “Basketball Ides of March.”

March Madness stayed within Illinois until the early 80’s when famed sports reporter, Brent Musburger, used it during his nationwide coverage of the tournament. This prompted the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to trademark the phrase and it all came to blows in the late 90’s when the NCAA and the IHSA both claimed rights to the name. The end result was the joint creation of the March Madness Athletic Association, and now everyone is happy.

In addition to March Madness there are several other catch phrases associated (and trademarked) with the tournament, including ‘Sweet Sixteen’, ‘Elite Eight’, ‘Final Four’ of course, and finally ‘The Big Dance’.

There will be 68 Division I teams selected to participate in the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament and it’s not as simple as the team with the best stats or most wins. The teams are selected via committee and picks are based on game data collected through the year, along with discussions involving coaches, directors, and commissioners.

Personally, this writer thinks holding a 68-team single-elimination tournament with 67 games over a period of 19 days is madness, March Madness. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins March 17th, which happens to also be St. Patrick’s Day.

Gambling City offers a vast selection of sportsbooks with excellent propositions for all games within the tournament. May the luck of the Irish and the magic of March Madness, be with you.