NCAA Basketball – The game of basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891, arising from the need for an indoor winter pass time at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. It would soon find its way to college campuses across the United States, including Lawrence, Kansas where Naismith himself would serve as head coach from 1898 through 1907.
The precursor to the NCAA, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, was formed in the early 1900’s. The non-profit organization is responsible for overseeing a variety of sports for its member institutions, setting rules and regulations while also negotiating television contracts as well as various other functions.
As it pertains to basketball, the NCAA is most well known for the NCAA Tournament, which originally opened as a lesser event to the NIT Tournament. The NCAA Tournament is now the pinnacle of amateur sports in the United States, generating billions in revenue for the 347 schools that comprise the association’s Division I basketball conferences.
The NCAA Tournament has also served to make college basketball an American staple. Countless college basketball players are household names as a result, including Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar), Pete Maravich, Bill Walton, Grant Hill, Danny Manning, Christian Laettner, Glen Rice and Wayman Tisdale.
There are, of course, a number of stand out programs and coaches as well. At the top of the list is UCLA and the legendary John Wooden. The Bruins own more national titles than any other school with 11 and Wooden presided over all of them save one.
Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas are also members of what some might label college basketball royalty, combining for 26 national championships.