Basketball: From High School to College

College Basketball March Madness

From High School to College

In the Beginning

He was born in Ontario, Canada, designed the football helmet, has the basketball hall of fame named after him and he was a fan at the first College Basketball March Madness Championship, which was played in Northwestern’s Evanston in 1939. Eight months later Dr. James Naismith passed on, but not after inventing the game of basketball. He penned his 13 rules of the game on Dec. 21, 1891 and I heard the original document of basketball rules he dictated to his secretary sold for over two million dollars several years ago.

An Invader

Until 1939 March Madness was a high school basketball tournament, but in March of that year that changed when college teams decided to get in on the action; thus the beginning of NCAA Basketball's March Madness. The championship game was played on Northwestern’s Evanston campus between the Oregon Webfoots and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Oregon, before an almost sold-out crowd, defeated Ohio State 46-33.

Illinois's Golden Era

Although the NCAA would become what most fans picture when hearing the term March Madness 1939 ushered in the Golden Era of the high school classic tournament. Many of Illinois teams reached a legendary Greek Olympic type of status.

Can't tell the teams with a scorecard

Taylorville who had not suffered a loss that season returned home to their small coal mining town to a crowd of 8,300 ecstatic fans, many of who claimed that their team played like robots. Edward Prell of the Chicago Tribune wrote “ these tornados swept to the title in a most nonchalant, almost bored manner. They were like perfectionists, their faces masked like veteran poker players". Then there was Mt. Vernon who had repeated victories in 1949 and 1950. Two years later in 1952 Hebron, a small school with less the 100 students won the title by beating Quincy 64-59 in OT. The only overtime championship from 1907-1985. Next up the year 1954 when we go back to the future.

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