In this space, we won’t tell you whom to pick in your March Madness Brackets. I’m sure that in the Final Four, you will see one Big 10 School, a mid-major, an East Coast powerhouse and a real shocker.
We will share with you the history of how the men’s college basketball playoffs were considered more of a bore and a bother in the 1940’s. Hastily planned and poorly promoted, the inaugural NCAA tournament in 1939 was such an afterthought that many teams that received invitations passed, to avoid missing class time or to compete in the more prestigious National Invitational Tournament (the NIT). Empty seats outnumbered paying customers during the quarter-final and semi-final rounds, and even the first title game, between Oregon and Ohio State, drew 5,500 fans to Northwestern’s Patten Gym only because organizers let most of them in for free.
Learn more about the history of “the tournament,” and how it has become three weeks of pure American sports madness: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/ncaa-bought-rights-men-basketball-tournament-shocking-bargain-130045967–ncaab.html