What is NCAA Basketball?

Basketball is one of the three major sports created in the United States; the other two being baseball and American football, and it has proven to be one of the most internationally marketable sports.  For those unfamiliar with American college basketball, consider this “NCAA Basketball 101″ and school is now in session.

A History Lesson

As the famous story goes, in 1891 a college physical education teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts was tasked with inventing an activity that would keep his rambunctious students busy during their confinement to the indoor gym during the bitter winter months, as well as keeping track athletes in shape without injuring them.  After two weeks of thought, the teacher, James Naismith, created a rudimentary version of the sport he called “basket ball” and with the first basketball game in December 1891, college basketball was created.  Of course, the early games of basketball did not exactly resemble what we now know today as players were not allowed to move with the ball, but instead were only allowed to pass it as soon as they caught it, as to prevent any injuries.  Also, games were consisted of two fifteen minute halves and a five minute halftime break, making the games much, much shorter than what we have become accustomed to, but that time was made up by the fact that after every field goal players had to stop and reset for a jump ball.  That’s right, there was a jump ball after every single goal.  Despite these oddities, or at least what we consider oddities today, the sport grew by leaps and bounds (pun very much intended), and by 1898, Naismith was brought to the University of Kansas to help build their basketball program.  The new sport had officially solidified its place as a legitimate college sport.

NCAA BasketBall

Evolution of Basketball

Since its inception over a century ago, college basketball, and basketball in general, has undergone massive changes, from simple uniform changes to fundamental rules changes such as the addition of dribbling, the elimination of the perpetual jump ball, the addition of the three-point line, and the establishment of the number of players on the court and substitution regulations.  Over the years, basketball went from a filler sport between football and track season to a worldwide craze that produced over $1 billion in television revenue in 2012 alone.  One of the biggest developments was the addition of the NCAA Tournament in 1939, and within years, March, the month of the tournament, became known as “March Madness“.  According to consulting firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, many American employees watched March Madness instead of working and its economic cost in lost hours was estimated at over $134 million in just the first two days of the tournament.

Basketball and Gambling

Of all the sports in the spectrum, basketball is one of the most popular sports for fans to bet on and Las Vegas sports books have reported March Madness as their biggest revenue-generating event, even bigger than the Super Bowl.  In comparison, the 2012 Super Bowl resulted in nearly $100 million in bets in Las Vegas and $6 billion nationwide, while the two-weeks of March Madness in 2012 nearly $12 billion of wagers were placed, at places like allpro.eu.  Of course, these bets include office pools, online bets, and in-person bets in the various legalized casinos in the United States.  Sports betting is legal in many of the Native American run casinos across the country, the state of Nevada, and Atlantic City in New Jersey, yet there is a glut of online sports betting websites that allow you to place bets.  Currently, the legal status of these websites is murky at best, but it hasn’t stopped the millions who still place their bets on line.

Basketball has ballooned into one of the biggest sports in the world, and it continues to grow on a yearly basis.  If you choose to test your luck when it comes to NCAA men’s basketball, there are numerous ways to place your bets.  Good luck!

About the Author

Leslie writes on his own blog and on other websites about sports and business.

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