It’s that time of the year again: March. That means on thing in the heart of a sports fan. The madness of the NCAA tournament is about to begin. This three weeks of March is the best sporting event of the year. It is only trumped by the Olympics and World Cup, which happen every four years.
Buzzer beaters, upsets, and Cinderella stories are three of the greatest parts of watching sporting events. And in no other place do these things happen more readily then March Madness.
As a true lover of the event, I always diligently fill out my bracket as most of the world does. It a tricky process of trying to pick which games will be upsets and which high seeds will sweep through. Every year without fail I think I have made the perfect bracket, only to be crushed by a first weekend upset that I didn’t see coming.
The madness of March is broken down into four distinct stages. First there is the selection Sunday where the field of 68 will be chosen. This gives us our first insight into what the bracket will look like. Over the next four days the life of a college basketball fan is consumed with filling out the bracket and complaining about the field. Every year, there are a few teams that make the tournament that people don’t think should have, and there are always the few bubble teams that everyone thinks should have be allowed to go to “the big dance”.
The next stage is the opening weekend. This is my personal favorite for a few reasons. First, this is when all the key upsets happen. There is nothing better then seeing a high regarded top seed losing to an unheard of middle major school. Second, nothing beats watching basketball from 9 AM to PM two days in a row. It is true bliss for the viewer at home on the couch. And lastly, who can complain about having four games going on simultaneously all day. Whenever one game ends, the coverage immediately turns to the next game. Eager fans all across the nation watch in anticipation, hoping their bracket won’t be busted.
The third stage is the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight weekend. This is when the true winners are beginning to show their colors. This always is the make or break point for your bracket. After this weekend most often my bracket is already in the trash because all my picks lost. But if you make it to this point still looking good, you feel like a sports visionary who should be working at ESPN.
The last stage is the Final Four and Championship game, when all the 68 teams in the field are narrowed down to the champion for the year. This is the best way in all of sports to crown a winner, and something college football should use. Everyone agrees March Madness is the perfect tournament, I mean could you even imagine if it was replaced with a BCS similar formula? Chaos would commence.
In all this hoopla, avid fans choose a side between liking the Duke and North Carolina’s of the would to continue their dominance and win more championships, or to dream of a day where George Mason or Butler can sneak all the way to the top of the country. George Mason made an incredible Final Four run a few years back, and most recently Butler who made it all the way to the championship game and almost upset Duke at the horn in the process.
True sports fans relish this time of the year. Now its time to sit back and watch all the mayhem begin as we pray our bracket hold up against our friends, yet not caring when a team nobody has heard of upsets a big time program with a half court heave!