In 1939, the National Association of Basketball Coaches developed the now-popular basketball championship called the National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Championship, in which 68 college basketball teams vie for the title of champion. The tournament takes place in March, earning it the now popular nickname “March Madness.”
The name March Madness can be traced back to an article written in 1939 by Henry V. Porter, an official for the Illinois High School Association, that he titled “March Madness.” Though this was the birth of the phrase, the term March Madness was not popularized until the 1980s by CBS sportscaster Brent Musburger. In 1996, the NCAA and the Illinois High School Association jointly trademarked the phrase.
A favorite pastime among viewers of the NCAA tournament is to fill out a predictive bracket before March Madness begins – often referred to as bracketology. With 68 teams competing, there are a total of 147.57 quintillion possibilities for bracket responses. Though it is close to impossible to make an entirely accurate bracket, ESPN says that 6.4 million people participated in bracketology this year in attempt to predict the perfect bracket. Out of these 6.4 million participants, one of the most talked about and viewed prediction brackets was filled out by President Obama. His predictions are even posted on the White House blog! President Obama predicts that the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will win the Championship, making this their sixth NCAA Championship. Only time will tell who the true winner will be, but there is no doubt that bracketology will continue to be an anticipated activity each March.