Yes, it’s once again that time of the year that all basketball fans love, the time metaphorically known as “March Madness”, also known as “The Big Dance”, officially known as NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. And I’m definitely one of those who follow this event with great interest because my favorite team, the North Carolina Tar Heels, are a constant part of the madness.
Throughout the history of this tournament which began in 1939, the Tar Heels have participated in 43 of the 78 contests which includes 43 appearances out of the last 50 tournaments, including an amazing stretch of 27 tournament appearances in a row! During that time they’ve won 5 national championships, one in an undefeated season of 32-0 in 1957 which included victories in the Final Four coming in rare two consecutive triple overtime games.
North Carolina, then known as the White Phantoms, was also declared national champions by the Helms Foundation in 1924 with a record of 24-0 before there was such a thing as the NCAA. But both the ’57 Final Four games, for the first time ever, were televised which truly began the madness which had its origins back in the mid-40’s when Everett Case, known as the “Gray Fox”, brought his brand of Indiana basketball to North Carolina when he became the coach of North Carolina State, making them a constant champion in the old Southern Conference, leading to basketball goals being put up on nearly every driveway in North Carolina.