Sweet Sixteen Back in the Day
Legend has it that in 1908 what began as an invitation-only event within the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) grew into something larger and larger with 900 plus boys basketball teams competing against one another. University of Illinois' Huff Gymnasium was packed every March with sell crowds scrambling for a seat to watch high school basketball's "Sweet Sixteen". What you have to understand back then is there was no television. People weren’t into college sports like today and don’t forget, the NBA, called the BAA (Basketball Associate of America) wasn’t established until 1946. New York Knickerbockers beat the Toronto Huskies 68-66 at Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1st, 1946 in what is considered the first NBA game played.
My point being what else would you be doing back ion the early 1900’s? No wonder Chicago and the rest of Illinois were so into high school basketball then. Plus Im sure the Chicago Outfit (thats what Chicagoans call the Mob) must of had had their hands in the till much the same way Organized Crime had in College Basketball in the 70's, 80's and 1990's. I may have gotten off track a little, but I wanted you to grasp the magnitude that March Madness had even in its conception.
In 1939 Henry Porter penned a paper titled "March Madness" in which he tried to describe this enormous interest in what was to become the classic event know today as, March Madness.
If they call Super Bowl "The Big Game" this should be known as "The Enormous Tournament".
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