The first NCAA men’s basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, was held in 1939. The tournament featured just eight teams, and was organized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the NCAA.
The first game of the tournament was played on March 17, 1939, at the Patten Gymnasium on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The game featured the West Regional final between the University of Oregon and Texas, with Oregon emerging victorious by a score of 56-41.
The other regional final games were played on the same day, with Oklahoma defeating Utah and Villanova beating Brown in the East Regional, and Ohio State beating Wake Forest and Kentucky defeating Illinois in the Mideast Regional.
The four winning teams then advanced to the Final Four, which was held at the Patten Gymnasium on March 24, 1939. In the semifinals, Oregon defeated Oklahoma by a score of 55-37, while Ohio State beat Villanova 53-36. Oregon went on to win the championship game, defeating Ohio State 46-33.
The first NCAA men’s basketball tournament may have been small by today’s standards, but it was still a landmark event that helped to establish college basketball as a major sport in the United States. Since then, March Madness has grown to become one of the most popular sporting events in the country, with millions of fans tuning in to watch the tournament each year.
There are several individuals who have the most Final Four appearances in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. The record for the most Final Four appearances by a head coach is held by John Wooden, who led the UCLA Bruins to 12 Final Fours and 10 NCAA championships between 1962 and 1975.
Among players, the record for the most Final Four appearances is held by three individuals: Bill Russell, who led the University of San Francisco to back-to-back championships in 1955 and 1956 and later went on to win 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics; Gail Goodrich, who played on UCLA’s championship teams in 1964 and 1965 and later won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers; and Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who played on UCLA’s championship teams in 1967, 1968, and 1969.
Other coaches with multiple Final Four appearances include Adolph Rupp (Kentucky), Dean Smith (North Carolina), and Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), who have each led their teams to 11 Final Fours. Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Rick Pitino (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) have each led their teams to 9 Final Fours.
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