The NCAA had to cancel its annual March Madness tournament in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But in 2021, the event is back and college basketball fans will be eagerly waiting for the tournament action to begin. The NCAA conference tournaments will help them until the official pool is released on Selection Sunday, but after a yearlong hiatus from all the March madness, fans are surely eager to get started.
For decades, March Madness has appropriately been the pinnacle of sports in March. It wasn’t always this way, as the tournament got off to a pretty humble start and wasn’t even the first postseason tournament of its kind. But the appetite for bracket-breakers and Cinderella stories has made the NCAA Tournament date stand out.
Here’s a brief history of March Madness and an overview of what you need to know before the 2021 NCAA Tournament begins.
What is March Madness and when did it start?
March Madness is the annual college basketball tournament organized by the NCAA that runs from mid-March to early April. The tournament began with eight teams playing each other in 1939, where Oregon beat Ohio State to take home the first tournament title.
Over the years, the tournament grew from an eight-team event to 16 in 1951. In 1975, it doubled to 32 before doubling again to 64 in 1985. Currently, 68 teams enter the tournament with eight teams participating in the tournament. game. games to make the official first round field of 64.
March Madness was not actually the first postseason college basketball tournament to occur. The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) started a year earlier in 1938, and while that was the most popular tournament for a while, March Madness has long surpassed it as the best college basketball tournament.
Why is it called March Madness?
The term “March Madness” was first used in 1939 when Illinois high school official Henry V. Porter referred to the original eight-team tournament by that nickname.
“A little March Madness can supplement and contribute to sanity and help keep society in balance,” Porter wrote in “Illinois High School Athlete” magazine, by Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
However, the term was not associated with the NCAA Tournament until 1982, when CBS announcer Brent Musburger used it during his coverage of the tournament. Musburger claims he got the term from car dealership commercials he saw while broadcasting the Illinois state high school basketball tournament. He started wearing it during those games and eventually brought it to CBS.
When is the NCAA Tournament in 2021?
The 2021 NCAA Tournament will begin on Thursday, March 18 at 4 pm ET when the inning games begin. These games, known as the “First Four,” are a series of entry games that have been held since 2011. The eight teams in those contests will compete for four spots on the official 64-team field.
From there, the first and second round tournament will be played from Friday March 19 to Monday March 22. The second weekend of play, consisting of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups, will run from Saturday, March 27, to Tuesday, March. 30.
And to top it off, the Final Four will take place on Saturday, April 3, and the NCAA championship game will take place at 9 p.m. ET on Monday, April 5.
All in all, that equates to roughly two and a half weeks of top-notch college basketball action.
When do the March Madness brackets come out?
The NCAA tournament field will be announced on Sunday, March 14 at 6 p.m. ET during a two-hour screening program on CBS. That day, known as “Selection Sunday”, will set the matches in brackets for the first round matches. Once those matches are established, the brackets with all the completed first round matches will be available to print.
If you can’t wait that long to get your bracket, there are blank brackets available that can be printed at any time. These will not have the teams completed yet, but you can add them once the tournament participants are announced on Selection Sunday.
Who won March Madness in 2019?
In 2019, the Virginia Cavaliers were able to win their first NCAA tournament title. Just one year after being the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed in tournament history, coach Tony Bennett was able to lead Virginia to a 29-3 regular season and another seed.
The Cavs played to their solid defense record in their wins over Gardner Webb, Oklahoma and Oregon State. At the Elite Eight, they defeated Purdue by five points before winning an exciting 63-62 Final Four matchup against Auburn thanks to three last-second free throws made by Kyle Guy. They went toe-to-toe with No. 3 seed Texas Tech in the Championship Game, but were able to win 85-77 in overtime.
During her title run, Virginia relied heavily on Guy, De’Andre Hunter, and Ty Jerome to lead them to victory. Guy averaged 15.4 points per game, Hunter averaged 15.2 and Jerome had 13.6 as the team’s third double-digit scorer. They combined for 67 of Virginia’s 85 points in the Championship Game. Hunter went on to be the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, while Jerome was selected 24th overall that year. Guy was the last of the three selected with the 55th pick in ’19.
Which team has the most NCAA basketball championships?
UCLA has the most NCAA basketball championships by a wide margin at 11. They are one of only 15 teams to have won the tournament multiple times, with 10 of their victories coming in a 12-year span with the legendary coach. John Wooden. They produced countless professionals during that period, which primarily included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, who were the number one picks in the 1969 and 1971 NBA Drafts, respectively.
Other notable blue bloods like Kentucky, North Carolina, and Duke have captured five or more NCAA titles, but some of the other schools that have won multiple championships may surprise you.
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* Louisville’s 2013 NCAA title was vacated as a result of a 2015 investigation into improper benefits awarded by then-Director of Basketball Operations Andre McGee to prospective and former Louisville players.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.