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Beginning on March 19, the nation’s 68 best academy basketball teams will action for the adventitious to booty home the NCAA championship bays afterwards a high-energy, single-elimination clash appropriately nicknamed “March Madness.” While the champ ability not consistently appear from an absurd place—California, for example, has a absolute of 15 championships beyond four schools, and North Carolina has an appropriately absorbing 13—the appellation itself absolutely did.

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Back in March 1939, an Illinois Aerial Academy Association (IHSA) ambassador and basketball drillmaster alleged Henry V. Porter bound an commodity blue-blooded “March Madness” for the association’s magazine. In it, he discussed the action surrounding the anniversary statewide basketball tournament, suggesting that a “little March carelessness may accompaniment and accord to acumen and advice accumulate association on an alike keel.” As TIME credibility out, 1939 additionally happened to be the aboriginal year that the NCAA captivated a championship game, which the University of Oregon won adjoin The Ohio Accompaniment University.

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Porter’s activity for adolescence basketball was so abundant that he followed up his commodity with a 1942 composition alleged “Basketball Ides of March,” which included the band “A sharp-shooting mite is baron tonight / The Carelessness of March is running.” The catchy, alliterative appellation bent on throughout the state, and Illinoisans connected to use it after arrest for the abutting 40 years.

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According to Slate, it was CBS anchorperson Brent Musburger who aboriginal co-opted the moniker for academy basketball while accoutrement the NCAA clash in 1982. By the end of the decade, IHSA had submitted a brand appliance for “March Madness,” and the alignment butted active with an NCAA accomplice over its use of the name on a computer bold in 1996. To anticipate added acknowledged conflicts, they formed the March Carelessness Athletic Association and absitively the IHSA could use “March Madness” for aerial academy sports, and the NCAA could use it on the bookish level.

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While Porter is usually accustomed with bogus the phrase, Dictionary.com reports the abstraction of “March Madness” had been about for centuries afore he fabricated it all about hoops.

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The ancient accepted almanac of the adage “mad as a March hare,” which refers to hares’ apparent assailment during ancestry season, is in some versions of Chaucer’s 14th-century magnum opus, The Canterbury Tales. The byword and its derivatives, including “March mad” and “March madness,” appeared intermittently through the abutting several centuries; conceivably the best memorable of these mentions was Lewis Carroll’s character, the March Hare, in his 1865 book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. (The Hatter was additionally mad, but for a altered reason.)

By the time Porter printed it in 1939, the byword was no best so carefully associated with hares—though basketball players, of course, can jump aloof as well.

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