ARTICLE OF THE DAY
 
NCAA Tournament History Lesson
by Billy Weaver
3/16/06

Before you start to watch the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, there are a few things you need to know. A little history lesson if you will about "March Madness."

Let's start with the phrase "March Madness." Can you tell me the origin of that phrase? No.

Brent Musberger is generally regarded as the man who first used the phrase while doing games for CBS Sports in the early 80's. The NCAA actually went as far as grabbing a trademark for the term which has also been used by the Illinois High School Athletic Association. The trademark has been the issue of a pair of high-profile courtroom battles in recent years. That's because H.V. Porter published an essay titled "March Madness" in 1939 referring to the Illinois High School Basketball Tournament. As for who has the rights to the trademark, in 1996 The United States Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a "dual-use trademark."

"Bracketology" is another phrase picking up steam as of late. As far I as know the phrase has not been trademarked and when I looked up the word on dictionary.com i got "no entry found."

Did you know that North Carolina and Duke are two of the most prolific teams in NCAA Tournament history? UNC is fourth on the all-time list of NCAA Championships with four while Duke has won the title three times. The Heels are second all-time in tournament victories with 88 and Duke checks in third with 83. North Carolina is second behind Kentucky for most tournament appearances with 37.

When the tournament began in 1939 only eight teams battled for the title. The field was expanded to 16 teams in 1951, 24 teams in 1953, 32 teams in 1975, 40 teams in 1979, 48 teams in 1980, 52 teams in 1983, 53 teams in 1984, 64 teams in 1985 and 65 teams in 2001.

The only team to ever score at least 100 points in a championship game was UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels beat Duke 103-73 in Denver in 1990. The Blue Devils responded by winning back to back titles in 1991 and 1992.

Who was North Carolina's first round opponent when the Heels won the title in 1993? 16th seed East Carolina. The Pirates advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a losing record after winning their first and only CAA Tournament Championship.

And finally, you probably already know that a #1 seed has never fallen to a #16 seed since the field was expanded to 64 teams in the mid 80's. Only four #15 seeds Richmond in 1991, Santa Clara in 1993, Coppin State in 1997 and Hampton in 1997 have defeated #2 seeds. I have a feeling that number will increase to five following the Tennessee-Winthrop game Thursday in Greensboro.

Have fun watching the games.

Billy Weaver
billy.weaver@witntv.com