College basketball history

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College basketball history and how it has evolved over the years

So, you're interested in true college basketball history? Well, you're not alone. What began as an idea to help students take physical education courses during the winter months has blossomed into one of the most popular sports around.

In the coming paragraphs, we'll take a look at how it all began and how it has grown into the powerhouse it is today.

The Beginning of Hoops

When James Naismith was asked by administrators from Springfield College to create a new sport for students uninterested in taking P.E. courses during winter, he came up with something extraordinary.

By placing two peach buckets at the ends of the court and using a soccer ball, he created what we now know as basketball. Physical education directors from around the country felt that not enough students were taking wintertime P.E. courses.  Thus, they wanted Naismith to create a sport which would rival both baseball and football.

Both of these sports -- baseball and football -- made summer and fall P.E. classes very popular in those days. All the directors asked of Naismith was to create a sport which would do the same for their winter courses. In 1891, Naismith did just that thanks to his two peach hoops and a soccer ball which became a precursor for what we now know as the basketball.

Over the many years which followed, the sport has grown in popularity, with a rabid fan base and school pride on the line every March Madness. Basketball camps, basketball training aids and professional quality footwear and uniforms are big business.

The Success of the Game

Almost instantly, students, schools, and athletes became ravenous for the game. By 1900, there were many multiple schools which had adopted Naismith's creation as their own. Naismith himself was even a coach at Kansas.

With that being said, the earliest incarnation of hoops was much different than what we would see today. There were fewer points scored thanks wholly to the fact that there was no shot clock in operation. Thus, teams had an unlimited time to shoot. Think if that was still around today? It might end up being 2-2 after 4 quarters and six overtimes.

Back in those days, though, there were scores like 25-18, in which New York University beat Notre Dame, as well as 37-33 in which Westminster manhandled St. John's. These games took place in the first double header at Madison Square Garden.

College Basketball History

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or the NCAA, was formed in 1906, in an effort to safeguard student athletes from exploitative and dangerous practices of the era. Known as the IAASUS and constituted on March 31, 1906, it later morphed into its present day name of the NCAA during the 1910 term.

At first, it was simply a discussion group, as well as a rules-making governing body. But it was during these subsequent years which the first NCAA national championship was created: the National Collegiate Track and Field Championships. And in 1939, the basketball championship was created; it was an eight-team tournament at the time which was won by Oregon in Evanston, Illinois.

In the beginning, the NIT tournament was just as popular as the NCAA tourney. Over the years, though, the NCAA tourney has replaced the NIT; the spectacle of March Madness brings fans, players, schools, and everyone else together for one wild ride during the month of March.

Like the lack of a shot clock in the early days, the tournament was a different beast back them. In 1974, only 25 teams were allowed into the tournament. One year later, in 1975, the field was increased to 32 teams. In 1980, 48 schools were allowed to compete; and in 1985, the field was increased to 64 total teams.

Since its inception by James Naismith way back in 1891, the sport has grown by leaps and bounds, with ravenous fans, dedicated coaches, and otherworldly athletes, who all help to make the game what it is today. And what is that, you ask? Simply, great entertainment.

Resources: The History of College Basketball. History.

Above photo attributed to Dougtone

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