Congratulations to all the participants in the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and especially to the Duke Blue Devils for their 61-59 victory over the Butler Bulldogs!
Now's the time to start looking for tickets to the Final Four. The 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament kicks off on March 16th and the 2010 Final Four championship takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium beginning on April 3rd. Once we get tickets in they always fly off the shelves, so don't wait to snag your 2010 Final Four tickets!
While the NCAA Basketball Tournament is now a national institution, it did not get its start until 1939. The previous year, the first National Invitational Tournament had taken place in Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Harold Olsen, thought that the NCAA would do well to run a national championship tournament of its own.
The result was a game at Patten Gymnasium at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. After a long train ride from the West Coast, the Oregon Ducks defeated Olsen's Ohio State team, 46-33. Though the tournament had shown itself to be a good idea, the money was not there. The Western playoffs had generated ticket sales of only 6,000 for each of the two nights, and the Eastern playoffs sold far fewer tickets. With considerable losses facing the teams, the NCAA agreed to take on the funding of the tournament, which ensured that it would still be around today.
The first tournament nearly led to a dangerous act of civil disobedience. The town of The Dalles, Oregon wanted to honor its hometown hero, John Dick, one of the Ducks most responsible for Oregon's championship. When the rail line refused to stop at The Dalles for the celebration, the citizens of the town, east of Portland, threatened to barricade the path of the train. Finally, the president of the line allowed the town ten minutes to present Dick with a gold watch. Nearly 3,000 people came to the station at 5am for the ceremony.
With such fanatic behavior from the fans, it's no wonder that the tournament committee would expand the number of berths for teams, until today there are 64 slots, for conference champions, other strong conference teams and at-large candidates. Again, think of 64 teams, with a fan base of current students, their parents, the alumni and their parents, and you can see how tickets to the NCAA Final Four become a hot commodity. If you get to go, enjoy the history of the tournament and the excitement of seeing the NBA's next generation of stars at work.