If you enjoy the NBA, you should also look at the NCAAB, because soon the biggest odds in sport will be the odds for March Madness. But what is March Madness? 

Well, The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament has taken on this nickname. It is a single-elimination tournament that is played every spring in the US, with 68 college basketball teams across Division I of the NCAA in order to determine the championship. 

If you are new to March Madness and want to find out more about this aspect of college basketball, keep reading to find out more about its awesome history.   


What We Know

The March Madness tournament was founded in 1939, but the National Association of Basketball Coaches, however, it was primarily the idea of Harold Olsen, the Ohio State coach. 

As it is played mostly during the month of March, this can explain part of the reason for its nickname ‘March Madness’. However, it is also one of the biggest sporting events every year in the United States, next to the Super Bowl, and NBA Finals. 

It is very common in pop culture as well, especially when we consider how people seek to predict the end outcome of each game, even for non-sporting fans, it is believed that millions of Americans take part in the bracket pool each year. 

Many Mainstream media outlets such as CBS Sports, ESPN, and Fox Sports will host tournaments online wherein the contestants are able to enter for free. 

Employees tend to act differently in workplaces as well, with an increase in sick days, longer lunch breaks, and conference calls often get rescheduled as well, allowing for employees to spend more time watching the tournaments. 

There are champions from 32 Division 1 conferences that make up the tournament teams, as well as 36 teams which are awarded ‘at-large’ berths. These are chosen by an NCAA selection committee and will then be announced in a televised event which we know as ‘selection Sunday’. 

The total 68 teams are then divided into 4 different regions and organized into eliminated brackets which help to pre-determined which team wins, who they face next. 

Each team will also be ranked within its region from 1-16, and after the first four the remaining part of the tournament begins on the 3rd Thursday of March and will be played over a course of 3 weekends, at select sites across the US. 

Teams which are seeded by their rank will proceed through a single-game elimination bracket which begins with the First Four round, which is made of 64 teams that play 32 games over a week, then there are the sweet 16 and elite 8 rounds and of course, the final 4 round is the last. 


The First NCAA Tournament In History

So, now we know about how it works today, but how different it is from how it was when it first started. 

Well, in the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in 1939 had only 8 teams, and Oregon was the first champion of the tournament. It grew to 16 teams in ‘51, and in ‘75 doubled again to 32, the 64 team size we know now was reached in 1985. 

The opening-round game came into place in 2001, and then in 2011, another 3 games were added to create the ‘First 4’, which is one of the best times for March Madness prop bets.

Speaking of which, the nickname ‘March madness’ was a term used first in 2939, by Henry V’ Porter, however, it was not a title associated with the NCAA tournament until the tournament in 1982, thanks to Brent Musbergers coverage. 


When Did It Expand To 64 Teams

Back in 1939 the tournament only had 8 teams, but in 1951 it became 16, and this continued until 1985 when it finally reached its 64-team count. Then in 2001, the Mountain West Conference joined Division I, getting an automatic bid which pushed the overall total to 65. A single game was then added before the first round. 

In 2011, 3 teams were added again, and another 3 games added again, which is the reason now, for the First 4 games. 


Where Did ‘March Madness’ Come From?

The term, March madness was first used in reference to basketball by Henry V. Porter, an Illinois high school official back in 1939, however, it wasn’t affiliated with the NCAA tournament for a few more years. 

In 1982, Brent Musbuger, a CBS broadcaster, used this phrase during coverage of the tournament. Since then, this phrase has become synonymous with the tournament.


The Biggest Upset In The History Of March Madness

We all like a bit of drama, so which moment was the most dramatic? 

We think that the 16-seed UMBC 74-54 win over the first seed Virginia back in the NCAA tournament in 2018. This was the first time in the tournaments’ history that a 16 seed team beat a 1st seed. After all, 1st seeds were a solid 135-0 all through NCAA history, so it is hard to find an underdog more so than that!