“March Madness” was born in 1939 when the University of Oregon beat the Ohio State University 46-33 in the first ever NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship game. Ironically enough, Oregon would not make it back to the Final Four until 2017
For the first twelve years of the tournament, only 8 teams competed in the bracket. This number steadily expanded until the 64-team format was introduced in 2001 and continues through today.
Though the tournament was relatively popular at the beginning, the term March Madness was not coined until five or six years later when the assistant executive secretary of the Illinois Hugh School Association, Henry Porter stated that “a little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel”
Though the “madness” may reference the sport of Basketball itself, it seems the majority of the madness comes from people all over the country filling out their brackets.
The bracket itself took hold when a Staten Island bartender. While partaking in random bar banter, in early March of 1977, Jody Haggerty bet several patrons to predict the winner in each of the games in the upcoming tournament. With a ten dollar buy in and 88 takers, the first March Madness pot was winner take all, $880.