Why do NCAA teams cut down the net after big wins?

If you've ever watched the Elite Eight round or championship game of March Madness, you've witnessed one of the most storied traditions in all of sports -- the cutting of the net.

The champion of each region, and ultimately the champion of the entire tournament, gets to partake in the ritual of cutting the net away from the sport's iconic orange hoop so players can take a piece of history home with them.

But who came up with that idea?

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The practice started in 1947, eight years after the NCAA Tournament began. Everett Case, the coach of the North Carolina State Wolfpack at the time, is credited with being the first to ever cut down the net. After the Wolfpack won the Southern Conference, Case stood on the shoulders of his players in order to take down the net, spurring a custom for the ages.

Every year since, the net has been snipped away from the hoop after every regional and national championship game, beginning with the winning team's seniors and moving down the classes.

Each player takes his or her own piece of the basket, and finally, the team's coach cuts the last strand to remove the chunk of net that remains, leaving a barren hoop to preside over the celebration on the court.

The ritual has been followed to a T every year with one notable exception occurring in 2013 -- rather than cutting the final strand himself after the championship win, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino allowed guard Kevin Ware to do so. Ware had suffered a devastating leg injury during the Elite Eight of that year's tournament and was unable to play in the championship win.

So far this year, four teams have cut down the nets: Oregon, North Carolina, South Carolina and Gonzaga all won their regional brackets. After the championship game on Monday, April 3, one of those teams will get to do the honors once again on an even bigger stage.