The First NCAA Tournament

June 24, 2021

The first NCAA Tournament was crowned by a 46-33 University of Oregon victory over Ohio State University in 1939.

For the first 12 years of the tournament, the field was capped at only eight invited teams. It was not yet the “Big Dance” that we see today, with 68 teams invited to participate.
The first eight teams invited to the tournament were Oregon, Ohio State, Villanova, Brown, Wake Forest, Texas, Utah State, and Oklahoma. The Championship Game was held on the campus of Northwestern University. The host team, itself, did not actually make the tournament for another 78 years in 2017.
While Oregon played Ohio State in the final, Utah State vied against Texas in the third place game with the Aggies ultimately winning 51-49. Even though Oregon won the first ever tournament, they would not make the Final Four again until 2017. They finished that 1938-39 season with a record of 26-5.
The Tournament, today, now has 68 teams with four play in games. It is narrowed down to four regions of 16 teams. The winning teams of the regions comprise the Final Four that meet in the that year’s championship host city.
UCLA has won the most NCAA men’s basketball championships, with 11 wins. Ten of those titles came over 12 years, from 1964 to 1975, with coach John Wooden. Kentucky follows them close behind with eight titles, North Carolina then with six, and Duke and Indiana with five each. There was not an NCAA women’s tournament until 1982 which was won by Louisiana Tech. Today, Connecticut has the most women’s tournament wins with 11 and Tennessee has the second most with eight.

Tagged: College, college basketball, NCAA