It’s the most wonderful time of the year, March Madness. Also known as “The Big Dance”, this is the NCAA Tournament to determine the national champion in Division I men’s and women’s college basketball.
Starting back in 1939, the first March Madness tournament featured eight of the most elite teams of that time. Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah State, Villanova, Brown, Wake Forest, and Ohio State. Oregon won this championship against Ohio State with a final score of 46-33. The first women’s tournament was held in 1982 between Louisiana Tech and Cheyney. Louisiana Tech won the game, with a final score of 76-62. Recently in 2021, the NCAA announced the expansion of the women’s tournament from 64 to 68 teams.
We cannot dive into the history of March Madness without mentioning the dominance that UCLA held in the 1960s and 1970s. We can attribute this dominance to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who went on to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, averaging about 25.3 points over 12 tournament games-leading UCLA to 3 consecutive titles.
Once women entered the March Madness games, it was off to the races. In the first ever women’s Tournament in 1982, Lorri Bauman scored a whopping 50 points against Maryland- setting a women’s tournament record. In 1983 and 1984, Cheryl Miller led her team to the national championship and was named the Most Outstanding Player in each of USC’s title runs.
The March Madness Tournaments have completely taken over the college basketball world. It has become a term that everyone knows, and almost everyone watches- even if they are not basketball fans. It is hard to ignore the camaraderie that March Madness forms around you, and you will find yourself watching the new players set new records in stone to raise the bar for greatness. The time to watch is approaching sooner than you think. We suggest you take a break, grab your family and friends, and sit down to watch history unfold with every game!