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Through the Looking Glass: Glancing Back at the History of the NCAA Basketball Tournament

2015 ncaa tournament

For Division 1 of the national championship among major college basketball teams, the winner is determined by none other than the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. During the period of March and April, the tournament takes place within a three-week period when the schools face off within the single elimination bracket. Let’s have a look on the brief history of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Along with 16 teams in the regional brackets, the NCAA tournament had been expanded up to 64 teams in 1985. In 2001, the tournament field developed by a single team with the opening round game in order to determine which team would advance in the first round. Then three more teams were added in 2011 since two games occurred in the modified first round of this tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday. Therefore, the winners of these games proceeded to the second round which was formerly known as the first round.

After the outcomes of those ‘First Four’, the field of the 68 teams becomes 64 and the entire attention puts on Thursday and Friday when 32 matches are being played. The final four teams who win from the each regional meeting get the access to go for the National Championship. After the expansion of the tournament to 64 teams, the lowest seed for winning the championship goes to Villanova in 1985 who took the position of an eight seed and it upset the conference rival Georgetown.

In the previous year, Connecticut became the first team to reach to no. 7 seed even by defeating Kentucky and finally won the national championship game. In the title game, the two teams combined for the highest seed with 15 while the Wildcats were at No. 8 seed.

Since the expansion of the tournament in 1985, the UConn won its third championship victory and in the last four years, it was the second. Not only UConn alone, there are six other schools who have won the multiple championships since the time of expansion in 1985. These teams are Duke (5 times), North Carolina (3 times), Kentucky (3 times), Louisville (2 times), Florida (2 times) and Kansas (2 times). Even since 1985, the championship title has been captured by the No. 1 seed for 18 times.

Another significant historical moment took place in 1996 when in the final Kentucky (14) whitewashed Syracuse by 76-67 in the final but still was unable to cover the highest point and consequently the highest point spread took place in the championship game.

For last 31 years, the underdog teams have usually gone by 16-14 against the spread. In case you didn’t know online bookmakers such as bet365 & 888sport offer a variety of odds on the action (for an indepth review of bet365, visit here). Even this year the victory of Duke by 68-63 over Wisconsin is memorable in the history of national championship 2015 as the one-point underdog.

In 1990, there was no line in the championship since Nevada did not allow staking on the schools within the state during that time. Along with the award of the NCAA championship trophy, one player is given the most outstanding player award and often it becomes the same as the most valuable player award of the tournament.