Why Is the Championship Game Called the Big Dance?

championship-game-called-big-dance Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

As one of several colloquialisms that refer to the NCAA Division I men's college basketball tournament, the meaning of "the big dance" may simply be a way of referring to the tournament as a major event. This is a common way of referring to events, including those that have nothing to do with actual dancing, that are of great importance to a number of people.

The origins of this nickname for the NCAA college basketball tournament are not as obvious as some others, such as March Madness. The earliest known use of "the big dance" in reference to this sporting event may date back to the 1970s.