For the first time since its start in 1939, the NCAA Division I tournament, also known as March Madness, was canceled on March 12. According to the information posted on ncaa.com, the tournament was set to begin March 17 but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first tournament 81 years ago had only eight teams. In 1939, the Oregon Ducks became the first winners of the NCAA tournament when they beat Ohio State 46-33.
According to the NCAA website, the first person to ever use the term March Madness was Henry V. Porter, an Illinois high school official. The phrase was not used by the NCAA until 1982 when CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger used it while covering the tournament.
The biggest upset in March Madness history happened in 2018 when number one seed Virginia lost to number 16-seed University of Maryland, Baltimore County 74-54. According to the NCAA website, “it was the first time in the history of the tournament that a 16 seed beat a one seed, and after the one seeds were a perfect 135-0 through college basketball history.”
On March 18, 1990, Loyola Marymount won against Michigan in the highest-scoring game in March Madness history with a score of 149-115. Loyola Marymount also holds second place for the highest-scoring game in the tournament’s history when they beat Wyoming 119-115 in 1988.
In 1970, the NCAA saw its highest-scoring player Austin Carr from Notre Dame score 61 points in their game against Ohio. Carr also holds “three of the top five single-game NCAA tournament scoring performances,” according to the NCAA website.
In the 81-years of March Madness, Kentucky has been to 57 of them with North Carolina following with 49 tournament appearances.
The Kentucky Wildcats also have the most tournament wins with 129; the Tar Heels following close behind at 126. The Wildcats have an average of 2.2 wins for every tournament appearance, and the Tar Heels have 2.5 for every appearance.
UCLA holds the record for most wins in March Madness history with 11. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski holds the record for most NCAA tournaments won by a single coach. Krzyzewski earned his 97th win in 2019. Roy Williams, head coach for North Carolina, holds second place with 79.
One of the traditions for fans during March Madness is filling out a bracket. According to ncaa.com, brackets have been used since the first tournament. Information on the NCAA website says, “the first bracket pool started in 1977 in a Staten Island bar.” Now millions fill out brackets online every March.
The cancelation of the tournament has affected many people across the country, including those on Arkansas Tech University’s campus.
“The cancelation of the tournament has honestly been pretty crazy, like I never thought I would see something like this all across the sports world,” junior basketball player Cameron Kennedy said. “Obviously it is unfortunate that the tournament is canceled, but I do in fact believe it was a good decision. The overall safety of everyone that would have been involved is much more important and valuable than the tournament. However, if there could possibly be a way where they just pushed it back that would be amazing. But I do understand that isn’t going to happen and the virus is only going to get worse before it gets better.”
Kennedy said he usually has a friend or two that play in the tournament.
“It’s unfortunate that they don’t get to play,” Kennedy said.