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History of March Madness

It’s Called “March Madness”

Every year, as winter wanes, a curious ailment spreads across the country. The thump of basketballs, the squeak of sneakers, and the roar of the crowd are sure signals that basketball fever is with us. It's a condition called “March Madness,” and it afflicts millions of people with no known cure. Where did this malady originate?

A Tradition is Born

“March Madness” was born in Illinois. The annual tournament of high school boys basketball teams, sponsored by the Illinois High School Association, grew from a small invitational affair in 1908 to a statewide institution with over 900 schools competing by the late 1930's. A field of teams known as the “Sweet Sixteen” routinely drew sellout crowds to the University of Illinois' Huff Gymnasium. In a time before television, before the college game became popular with the average fan, before professional leagues had established a foothold in the nation's large cities, basketball fever had already reached epidemic proportions in the Land of Lincoln.

Giving It a Name

Henry V. Porter, assistant executive secretary of the Illinois High School Association, was so impressed by the phenomenon that he wrote an essay to commemorate it. Entitled “March Madness,” it first appeared in the Illinois Interscholastic, the IHSA's magazine, in 1939. The term struck a chord with newspapermen, who used it throughout their pages. During the tournament's “Golden Era” of the 1940's and 1950's, “March Madness” became the popular name of the event.

It was an era of some of Illinois' most legendary teams, including the undefeated 1944 Taylorville squad and Mt. Vernon's unstoppable back-to-back champions of 1949 and 1950. But the one champion remembered more than any other is tiny Hebron, a school of only 99 students, which won the tournament in 1952.

Making It Official

The IHSA tournaments continued to grow and develop. In 1963, the tournament moved to the huge new Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois and fans witnessed the most famous finish in history, when Chicago Carver beat Centralia on a last-second shot by a substitute named Anthony Smedley.

“March Madness” grew as well. Beginning in 1973, the IHSA began using the term officially in its programs and on its merchandise. In 1977, the organization enlisted veteran Chicago sportswriter and Big Ten basketball referee Jim Enright to write the official history of the boys basketball tournament.

The result was March Madness:
The Story of High School Basketball in Illinois. As media technology advanced, the IHSA and KOST Broadcast Sales of Chicago produced March Madness: The Official Video History of the IHSA Basketball Tournament in 1989. Both the book and video were sold nationwide.

During this period, the Illinois High School Association received trademark status for the term “March Madness” and registered the trademark “America's Original March Madness.” The spirit of March Madness has subsequently spread from coast to coast, as other companies and organizations, including state high school associations and manufacturers, have been licensed by the IHSA to use these trademarks.

March Madness Today
Today's March Madness is different from the original version. Nowadays an “Elite Eight” of teams advances to the state finals, but there are four tournaments - a Class A (small school) and Class AA (large school) version for both boys and girls, played in Peoria and Normal. “The Happening,” a thrilling contest featuring the state's best three-point shooters and dunkers, is now a part of these tournaments as well. And starting in 1996, the “March Madness Experience,” an exhibition hall full of fun, games, and good times, has allowed fans of Illinois high school basketball to join in the action.

The popularity of these events now allows the IHSA to provide more than just good entertainment for its fans. A significant portion of the fees generated from the licensing of the unified marks “March Madness” and “America's Original March Madness” are used to fund college scholarships for Illinois high school boys and girls.

Tourney History TOP

Year-by-Year Tournament History

Year

Championship game

Score

2014

Kentucky def. Wisconsin

74-73

2013

Louiseville def. Michigan

82-76

2012

Kentucky def. Kansas

67-59

2011

Connecticut def. Butler

53-41

2010

Duke def. Butler

61-59

2009

North Carolina def. Michigan State

89-59

2008

Kansas def. Memphis

75-68

2007

Florida def. Ohio State

84-75

2006

Maryland def. Indiana

64-52

2005

North Carolina def. Illinois

75-70

2004

UConn def. Georgia Tech

82-73

2003

Syracuse def. Kansas

81-78

2002

Maryland def. Indiana

64-52

2001

Duke def. Arizona

82-72

2000

Michigan State def. Florida

89-76

 

Seeds in the Final Four

Year

Seeds

Teams

2014

1,2,7,8

Florida, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Kentucky

2013

1,2,3,3

Louisville, Syracuse,Michigan, Wichita State

2012

1,2,2,4

Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville

2011

3,4,8,11

UConn, Kentucky, Butler, VCU

2010

1,2,5,5

Duke, West Virginia, Butler, Michigan State

2009

1,2,2,3

North Carolina, Connecticut, Michigan State, Villanova

2008

1,1,1,1

Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina, UCLA

2007

1,1,2,2

Florida, Ohio State, Georgetown, UCLA

2006

2,3,4,11

UCLA, Florida, LSU, George Mason

2005

1,1,4,5

North Carolina,Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State

2004

1,2,2,3

Duke, UConn, Okla. St., Ga. Tech

2003

1,2,3,3

Texas, Kansas, Marquette, Syracuse

2002

1,5,1,2

Maryland, Indiana, KU, Okla.

2001

1,1,2,3

Duke, Mich. St., Arizona , Maryland

2000

1,5,8,8

Mich. St., Florida, UNC, Wisc.

Outstanding Player Award

Year

Player

Team

Key stats

2014

S. Napier

UCONN

22 pts, 6 reb, 3 steals, 3 asts

2013

L. Hancock

Louisville

22 pts, 5-5 3-pointers

2012

A. Davis

Kentucky

24 pts, 30 rebounds, 11 blocks

2011

K. Walker

Connecticut

34 pts, 30 reb, 11 blocks

2010

K. Singler

Duke

40 pts, 6-11 3-pts, 18 reb

2009

W. Ellington

North Carolina

39 pts,14-26 FG, 8-10 3pt FG

2008

M. Chalmers

Kansas

29 pts,7 reb, 7 steals

2007

C. Brewer

Florida

32 pts,7-13 3-pts, 10reb

2006

J. Noah

Florida

17 reb, 10 blocks

2005

S. May

North Carolina

48 pts, 17 reb

2004

E. Okafor

Connecticut

42 pts, 22 reb

2003

C. Anthony

Syracuse

53 pts, 24 reb

2002

J. Dixon

Maryland

51 pts, 7 stl

2001

S. Battier

Duke

43 pts, 19 reb

2000

M. Cleaves

Michigan St.

29 pts, 5 asts

 

Team-by-Team Win-Loss Records

Team

Yrs.

Won

Lost

Kentucky

53

113

41

North Carolina

43

108

41

UCLA

44

100

37

Duke

36

96

32

Kansas

41

93

40

Louisville

37

64

40

Indiana

26

62

31

Syracuse

35

56

35

Michigan State

26

54

25

Connecticut

31

52

29

Ohio State

28

51

26

Villanova

32

49

32

Arizona

29

47

28

Georgetown

28

46

27

Single-Game Scoring Performances

Name

Game

Year

Pts.

Austin Carr

Notre Dame vs. Ohio

1970

61

Bill Bradley

Princeton vs. Wichita St.

1965

58

Oscar Robertson

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas

1958

56

Austin Carr

Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

1970

52

Austin Carr

Notre Dame vs. TCU

1971

52

 

Final Four Team Records

Most NCAA Championship Titles

UCLA

11

Kentucky

8

Indiana

5

North Carolina

5

Duke

4

First-Round Shockers

2012

Leghigh (15)

Duke (2)

75-70

2012

Northfolk State (15)

Missouri (2)

86-84

2012

Ohio (13)

Michigan (4)

65-60

2011

Morehead State (13)

Louisville (4)

62-61

2010

Ohio (14)

Georgetown (3)

97-83

2010

Murray State (13)

Vanderbilt(4)

66-65

2009

Cleveland State (13)

Wake Forest (4)

84-69

2008

Siena(13)

Vanderbilt(4)

83-62

2008

San Diego (13)

Connecticut (4)

70-69

2006

Northwestern State (14)

Iowa (3)

64-63

2006

Bradley (13)

Kansas (4)

77-73

2005

Bucknell (14)

Kansas (3)

58-57

2005

Vermont (13)

Syracuse (4)

60-67

2003

Tulsa (13)

Dayton (4)

84-71

2002

UNC-Wilm. (13)

USC (4)

93-89 OT

2001

Kent St. (13)

Indiana (4)

77-73

2001

Hampton (15)

Iowa St. (2)

58-57

2001

Indiana St. (13)

Oklahoma (4)

70-68

 

Past winners
2004 - Connecticut 82-Georgia Tech 73 -Alamodome San Antonio, Texas
2005 - North Carolina 75- Illinois 70-Edward Jones Dome St. Louis, Missouri
2006 - Florida 73-UCLA 57-RCA Dome Indianapolis, Indiana
2007 - Florida 84-Ohio State 75-Georgia Dome Atlanta, Georgia
2008 - Kansas 75-Memphis 68-Alamodome San Antonio, Texas
2009 - North Carolina 89- Michigan State 59 Detroit Michigan
2010 - Duke 61- Butler 59 Lucas Oil Stadium, Indiana Indianapolis
2011 - Connecticut 53-Butler 41 Cowboy Stadium, Houston Texas
2012 - Kentuky 67-Kansas 59 New Orleans , Louisiana
2013 - Louisville 82 - Michigan 76 Georgia Dome, Atlanta
2014 - Kentucky 74 - Wisconsin 73 Georgia Dome, Atlanta

 

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