The sweats, the chills, the thrills, nerves running through the body … a fever is approaching. No, the fever is here: it’s the fever of NCAA MARCH MADNESS!
On Thursday, March 15th, sixty-four teams from four different regions began the process of staking claim of NCAA basketball’s top prize. The Division I title of men’s college basketball.
As of today, the teams have dwindled down to sixteen. After the Sweet Sixteen round, beginning Thursday, only the Elite Eight will remain. Next comes the Final Four, held in New Orleans March 31, and lastly the face-off in the championship game.
The tournament is in its seventy-third year. The big dance is notorious for being one of the most popular events in all sports, especially for fan participation.
With the NCAA basketball tournament, everyone can be a part of the action. Some get tickets for the games themselves, others watch the games at a local bar or on their home television set—but most importantly—everyone can fill out a bracket with their best predictions for upsets and wins.
Fans’ brackets list who they think will continue to advance to each round until the final two, concluding with the winner. The brackets represent the event’s ability to bring people together. Some people fill out brackets with a group of friends or co-workers and bet on who will win the championship.
However, the tournament does not appeal to everyone. Some people don’t follow basketball at all; others prefer the NBA to college basketball. It can be difficult to follow the tournament closely while managing school, work, and social obligations.
“I don’t have enough time on my hands … I would follow it but I don’t know much about it. I’m also too busy and have other things on my mind,” said senior Kelcey Johnson.
Some may not follow the tournament per-se, but still admire the sport.
Senior Hugh Griffis said, “I love basketball … I’m terrible at it … that’s how I feel about it. But, I like college basketball better than the NBA. It’s more exciting because it’s not so professional. Like, everything is not perfect, there is more up in the air. There is more spontaneity and uncertainty; somehow it’s more genuine.”
On the other side of the spectrum are big fans who fill out brackets and follow the games closely.
Sophomore Thomas Deane explained that he has been filling out brackets for as long as he can remember. He has “always been attracted to the actual madness.”
Something unique Deane pointed out about the tournament was the irrelevance of the regular season records in comparison to how the games play out. This is because, in the tournament it only takes one loss to be eliminated.
“This year will be hard to call”, said Deane. “There are some very good teams. I’m pulling for Florida State to make a big run. But, I also see Syracuse getting knocked out early since they lost their best player, Fab Melo.”
Similarly, junior Will Parshley’s team was going to be Syracuse. However, now he has the Big Ten’s Ohio State in the final four, also due to the loss of Melo.
Parshley and Dean both expect Kentucky to go all the way because they are the best teams in the country.
When asked about the tournament, Parshley said, “I enjoy college basketball, especially the tournaments, because any team can beat any other team. It’s not necessarily whose got the most talent or who has the better team. It’s more based on who brings it to the table that day. So, it’s more effort than anything and about really wanting it.”
“I’m generally more of an NBA fan because the basketball is better, but college kids want it. There is more passion for the game. “Everyone is going crazy, it’s wild,” said Parshley in reference to the rigorous schedule of the first day with four games back to back:
This year’s tournament is expected to be one of the most exciting due to the unpredictability of the match-ups. The only way to find out who will make it to the big dance will be to get involved and have fun.