The Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is in full swing and it is time to get excited! Every year we watch in anticipation to see which team will earn the title of National Champion. But when did this all begin? Who was the first team to claim this prestigious title? We did some digging and found the answers for you!
The first NCAA college basketball tournament, which is now known as March Madness, was played in 1939. That means there have been 72 National Champions so far. It was organized by the NCAA but actually held by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. It is said that the idea was originally presented by Ohio State coach Harold Olsen.
The first tournament only had eight teams and was hosted at Patten Gymnasium in Evanston, Illinois. The first National Champion was the University of Oregon Ducks. Prior to 1975, only one team per conference we allowed into the tournament. However, after highly ranked teams such as South Carolina, Southern Cal, and Maryland were not permitted to play, the NCAA began to place highly-ranked teams in the tournament not just the conference winners. Although there currently are no consolation games, there was a third place game played from 1946-1981. It was not until 1985 that the NCAA expanded the tournament to include 64 teams and in 2011 they expanded the field again to include 68 teams.
The tradition of cutting down the net after a team has won the National Championship game began in 1947 when the coach of North Carolina State, Everett Case, stood on his players’ shoulders to cut down the net after winning the championship game. In 1967, the slam dunk was made illegal only to be brought back in 1976. In 1986, the three-point field goal was introduced with the three-point line set at 19 feet, 9 inches from the center of the basket.
Now for a few fun facts:
Teams with the most NCAA Tournament appearances:
North Carolina (43)
Teams with the most Final Four appearances:
North Carolina (18)
Teams with most NCAA Tournament appearances without reaching the Final Four:
Utah State (20)
Coaches with the most National Championship titles:
John Wooden (10)
Adolph Rupp (4)
Mike Krzyzewski (4)
Jim Calhoun (3)
Bob Knight (3)
Now that you are all brushed up on your NCAA Tournament history get ready to cheer on your team!
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March Madness is upon us, and as we flick on the TV and colleges campuses all around the country fill up the bleachers with screaming fans, it seems only fitting to take a look beyond the court and see who is cheering these teams on. While the outfits of the fans can be fun to watch, it’s usually the furry friends that take center stage. I’m of course talking about the team mascot!
The school’s mascot says a lot about the spirit and enthusiasm of a team. They are the ones who help rile up a crowd and often have their name and face plastered all over a campus. So which mascots would the paparazzi be lining up to capture a shot of and which ones are a little, how do you say, out of the ordinary? From Wildcats to Trolls, Bulldogs, and Gophers, there are mascots out that will make you laugh, and some that will no doubt leave you scratching your head.
Let’s start with the front-runners of this year’s tournament and teams that are predicted to go far. Could you name their mascots? Do you think you’ve ever heard of them, or could guess if someone made you try? If not, here is your chance to catch up. Feel free to jot down notes—stump your friends with new trivia!
The Kentucky Wildcats. The University of Kentucky has enthusiastic and obviously athletic students. Their fans are often referred to as the Big Blue Nation. Wildcats are a popular mascot—Kansas State is also home of the Wildcats, but the obviously prefer purple and white!
Syracuse is another team that is on the “watch list” for this year’s games. They are looking fresh and are ready to roll, coincidently so is their mascot—Otto the Orange! It may seem odd, an orange for a mascot, but you couldn’t ask for a brighter or healthier friend to cheer you on!
The Missouri Tigers are also roaring and ready for ball time. The home of Gold and Black have fans that are almost as fierce as their players and are sure to bring some tiger heat to the court!
Have you ever been to North Carolina? If you have I’m sure you’re familiar with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Their mascot is big horned Ram, Rameses. He has big ram muscles, a jersey and a huge following of fans. If I must say so myself, he looks great in blue!
I’m quite partial to the next team. The Kansas Jayhawks. I’m a Kansas girl, and have a brother who went to KU. And if you must know I still walk around wearing my 2008 National Championship shirt. I’m a La Salle Explorer now, but that won’t stop me from loving the Jayhawks through and through.
So what other reputable mascots are out there? Well of course there are the Duke Blue Devils, the Butler Bulldogs, and another family favorite—the Georgetown Hoyas, with “Jack the Bulldog” as the mascot.
Some mascots aren’t as mainstream, in fact may not have ever realized what they were!
Trinity College is home to the Trolls. And then there’s Whittier College, home of the Poets— Do you think they all have the gift of rhyme? Concordia College is home to the Cobbers. Their mascot is a human sized cob of corn, again a very healthy choice. You know for sure their students are getting their full serving of vegetables—whether they happen to be real or school spirit driven! Stanford University doesn’t have an “official” mascot, but their adopted cheerleader is the Standard Tree. It’s said that it even changes its leaves with every season!
Mascots can be the heart and soul of a campus, or just a figment of every student’s imagination. Whether your mascot is well known, or locally loved and cherished, each character or symbol tells a story and showcases a little of what makes your school unique! Here’s hoping we seen a wide range of these guys on the sidelines this March!
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What will he decide? Where do you think Carmelo Anthony should go?
Tell us your predictions!
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