NCAA Tourney Tradition Rooted in 1939

Posted on May 12, 2014 by


The first NCAA tournament was held in 1939. The first champions were Oregon, who went 29-5 and beat Ohio State 46-33. The tournament is held every spring and is nicknamed March Madness or the Big Dance.

Since 2011, 68 teams enter the field. There are 32 teams after the second round; then they go down to the Sweet Sixteen, then the Elite Eight, then the Final Four, then the final two teams.

CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV are the four television stations that run the games. The winners of a certain conference get automatic bids, and there are 32 of them. Then there are 36 at-large bids picked by an NCAA committee. On the Sunday before the tournament begins, the committee decides the seeds. This is called a bracket.

Filling out brackets and predicting the winners of each game is hugely popular around the country. The elusive “perfect bracket” has never been achieved, although some have come close. This past year, Quicken Loans offered a $1 billion dollar prize for a perfect bracket.

In 2013, Florida Gulf Coast, a 15 seed, made it to the Sweet Sixteen. They won the ESPY for best upset. They were nicknamed Lob City because of their alley oops.

Number sixteen seed has never beaten a #1 seed ever in the history of the tournament. In 1990, #16 seed Murray State took #1 seed Michigan State into overtime, marking the first time in history a bottom-seeded team took a top-seeded team to overtime. There were also two times where a #16 seed only lost by 1 point.

Usually, the top four teams with the top records are the #1 seed. There are four regions where the games will be played: East, West, Midwest, and South.

UCLA has the most titles with 11. John Wooden coached them to 10 out of their 11. The University of Kentucky is second with 8. Indiana and North Carolina both have 5, and Duke and UConn have 4.

At the end of each regional final, the players and coaches cut down the nets.

“Watching the NCAA tourney is so fun because there are so many upsets,” senior Doug Karpuek said.

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