The Big Dance: March Madness phrases and traditions explained

March Madness is here, but if you're not a college basketball buff, you may not know all the ins and outs of the tournament.

The NCAA tournament has a lot of moving parts to it with phrases thrown around such as the 'the big dance' and 'bracketology.'

The brackets are another science for another day, but if you want to at least keep up with the basics, here are a few things to know.

1. It dates back to 1908 in Illinois where the Illinois High School Association sponsored an annual tournament of high school boys basketball teams.

2. Henry V. Porter, an assistant executive secretary of the Illinois High School Association reportedly first used the phrase "March Madness" in 1939 as the title of his essay about the growing tournament in Illinois.

The name continued to be used, though, some say sportscaster Brent Musburger is the one who actually associated the phrase with the NCAA tournament in the 1980s.

3. Selection Sunday officially starts March Madness when the 68 teams chosen to participate are revealed.

4. "The Big Dance" is also another name for the NCAA basketball tournament, but there are different theories about why.

One idea is that Marquette basketball coach Al Mcquire used it when a reporter asked him if he'd wear his famous bright blue blazer during the NCAA tournament back in 1977.

He reportedly said, "Absolutely. You gotta wear the blue blazer when you go to the big dance."

Marquette won the championship that year - and the name stuck.

5. Cutting down the net at the end of the regional and national championship is a tradition.

It once again seems to have originated in Illinois but was introduced into the college scene in 1947 with North Carolina State.
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