March Madness is well underway and thousands of spouses are becoming basketball widows as the games progress. Male or female, if you love the games, chances are they’ve taken over your life! It’s time to put your fanaticism to the test with these five facts. Read on to see if you know all there is to know about the best three weeks of your life!
1. March Madness Started in High School
Way back in 1939, or 73 years ago to be exact, a man called Henry V. Porter wrote an article for the Illinois High School Association news publication. The article, titled “March Madness”, was the first time anyone had read the famous phrase. For 43 years, the phrase was tossed about in Illinois high school circles and no further. In 1982, Brent Musburger used the term March Madness, during a telecast of the college tournaments.
2. Why is it Mad?
The basketball tournament that takes place during March is one of the fastest moving of any sport, at any level. If you are new to the March Madness fervor, you may not realize just how quickly it does move, especially if your only exposure to the games is what is televised. Over just three weekends, 68 separate teams are pitted against each other, one-by-one, until only four remain. The tourney was expanded to 68 teams, from 65, in 2011. 65 teams saw play between 2001 and 2010, and just 64 teams were represented prior to 2001.
3. The Role of the Boob Tube
In the early 80s, a fledgling cable channel, called ESPN, began to air early-round games of the tournament. Since then, virtually every game can be seen on one channel or another, or, for those that aren’t blessed with hundreds of cable channels, online. Since the bulk of the games have become televised, consulting firms have estimated that businesses can lose approximately $1.8 billion in productivity thanks, in part, to employees’ attention being side-lined by the games. Which brings us to:
If you’re a betting person, you may study the odds to ensure your chances of raking it in every weekend. However, there are some little know, odd odds that can make your chances of winning even higher.
- If a team has traveled within 100 miles to play their game, they stand a 77% chance of winning. Those who travel within 500 miles see their odds of winning shrink to 47%.
- There has never been a 16-seed team in the NCAA tournament.
- UCLA has the most wins in the tournament: 11.
- When it comes to points scored during a game, the 1990 Loyola v. Michigan game saw the most, at 149. In 1941, a shockingly low scoring game occurred between North Carolina and Pitt: in the end, the grand total score of the game was 20.
5. Fight over the Phrase
It shouldn’t surprise anyone who lives in our litigious society that there has been a court battle over the phrase “March Madness”. Once the term began to gain momentum, the IHSA attempted to trademark the phrase. The association sued GTE, trying to stop them from using the phrase on a video game. Subsequently, a decision was reached that allowed both associations to use the term. Currently, the NCAA has rights to “March Madness” at the college level and the IHSA controls the phrase at the high school level.
There you have it: five little known facts about the event that has taken over the spring season. If you knew these facts already, consider yourself among the elite. If you didn’t, now you do! It’s time to impress your friends and co-workers with your new knowledge.
A basketball enthusiast, author Travis Baker is a member of the National Basketball Shooters Association, and practices free throws as a daily habit.