What most basketball fans fail to realize, is that “March Madness” actually started out as a high school boys basketball tournament in Illinois. It grew from a small invitational affair in 1908 into a statewide tournament with over 900 schools competing in the 1930’s. The tournament got big in attendance when the final 16 teams, also known as the “sweet sixteen,” started competing for the championship.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) turned “March Madness” into a college single elimination tournament played each spring. 68 of the best teams across the nation come into the tournament to determine the national championship. The tournament has been televised since 1969.