College Basketball (USA)
OverviewJames Naismith published his rules for “Basket Ball.” Almost immediately college boys and girls took up the new game. In 1892 girls at Smith College and the University of California started throwing balls into peach baskets in gym class. Some Vanderbilt College boys played a team from the Nashville YMCA in 1893. Pretty soon colleges were fielding teams and playing neighboring colleges. The game spread across the country like wildfire.
By the 1920s nearly every high school, college, factory and town in America had at least one basketball team. The college game’s popularity grew with the establishment of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), in 1938. A different playoff for conference champions began the the next year, but the NCAA Tournament didn't become college basketball's premiere tournament until the 1960s.National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is similarly divided into two divisions, and draws its members largely from smaller schools in the west, midwest and south. The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) sponsors championships in three divisions. (For details of the organization of college ball, see Administration). And all these organizations have tournaments for men and women. America loves a winner, and these tournaments provide plenty of them.
Basketball aficionados know, however, that there is only one “Big Dance.” The most important amateur basketball tournament is the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament: March Madness. Experts tell us that the NCAA tournament results in productivity losses of nearly $1 billion annually. The FBI estimates that over $3.5 billion will be bet on the tournament. CBS pays the NCAA nearly $2 billion per year for broadcast rights. College basketball culminates in the Final Four on the last Saturday in March and subsequent battle of the survivors.
For a better understanding of how college basketball is organized in the U.S., read up on the Organization of College Basketball.
Albert E. Gator is the costumed male mascot of the University of Florida Gators athletics teams. He is an American Alligator and can be found at any event in which the Gators are participants. His female companion to many of these events is Alberta.
In early 2006, Albert was featured in a This is SportsCenter commercial, walking out of an elevator and becoming the object of Steve Irwin's alligator wrangling tendencies...(More about the National Champion's mascot)
For the second consecutive time, the Florida Gators are the NCAA National Champions. Defeating Ohio State 84 - 75, The Gators hit a rare if ever achieved milestone by winning both the National titles of Basketball and Football, and furthermore, against the same opponent. (learn more about the Gators)