The term “college basketball” is typically referring to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The first recorded college ball game was in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania between Geneva College and the New Brighton YMCA on April 8, 1893, and the first intercollegiate game was two years later. Here, Minnesota State School of Agriculture (now the University of Minnesota) defeated Hamlin College with a score of 9-3. A year later, the first game with the current 5-player format was played in Iowa City, Iowa. The first televised college game was between Pittsburgh and Fordham in 1940, taking place in Madison Square Garden. Pittsburgh came out on top.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were enough college teams to begin forming basketball leagues, and the NCAA was founded in Chicago in 1906. Over 5,500 fans were witness to the first NCAA Championship tournament, which took place in Evanston, Illinois, in 1939 (Oregon emerged victorious over Ohio State in the final game with a score of 46-33).
Another tournament, the National Invitation Tournament, was also very important at the time, and was believed to be just as high quality as the NCAA. However, by the 1950’s, the NCAA was dominant, and the NIT became a showcase for teams that were not as talented and couldn’t make the NCAA tournament. It is still played today in Madison Square Garden.