I Wonder: March Madness




Posted on March 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 11 at 10:29 AM

We are in the midst of March Madness – the time during which 68 men’s and 64 women’s college basketball teams compete for the top spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament.

After filling out a bracket (for the first time ever), I have found myself uncharacteristically sports crazy and attentive to what this playoff entails.

All of the basketball hype got me and KVUE sports reporter Matt Mitchell wondering – where did the term “March Madness” come from?

According to this article by journalist Brendan I. Koerner, “March Madness” was first the title of an article written in 1939 for a publication by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The official who wrote that article was named Henry V. Porter.

In reference to Illinois’ statewide high school basketball tournament Porter wrote, “A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.”

In my opinion, a little fun (or madness) is always worth having, though I am not sure the tournament is so fun for those competing in it as it is serious; it’s the zenith of their basketball careers.

Koerner reports that in 1982, “March Madness” gained broader recognition after CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger used the term during his network's NCAA tournament coverage.

In 1989, the IHSA trademarked “March Madness” but later got involved in a lawsuit with the NCAA, which had starting using the term.  The sides eventually resolved their differences, and Koerner writes that “Rather than endure more rounds in court, the two sides agreed to form the March Madness Athletic Association, a joint holding company. The IHSA controls the name on the high-school level, while the NCAA has a perpetual license to use the phrase in connection with its (much larger) collegiate tournament.“

The last four teams will compete in the semi-final portion of the tournament in Houston on April 2. Click here for Final Four coverage from KVUE’s sister station, KHOU.

**Watch the video above for KVUE sports reporter Matt Mitchell’s take on March Madness and which team he thinks will end up on top. (Keep in mind this was taped on 03/25 -- before even more "madness" ensued!)

Click here to see a live NCAA men’s basketball bracket and here to see one for the women’s tournament.

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