March Madness: A Great Time of the Year
Every year in March, a wonderful time comes. Near the middle of the month, March Madness starts. It is the culmination of the college basketball season, and likely the best playoffs of any college sporting event, if not all sports. In the last week of the season, there are all of the conference tournaments, teams fighting to guarantee a spot in the playoffs with a conference title. For the teams that do not get an automatic bid, they have the anticipation of waiting to see if they make the tournament on Selection Sunday. Once the 64 team field is set, the tournament fun can begin.
Around noon on the Thursday following Selection Sunday, the single elimination tournament begins. Over the next 12 hours, 16 college basketball games take place. With four television channels covering all the games, there is always one to watch and keep entertained. On Friday, 16 more games occur. Then on Saturday, eight more games are played with another eight to follow on Sunday. On the following Thursday through Sunday, the field is narrowed from 16 down to four teams. The following weekend, a national champion is crowned to rule victorious over the college basketball world.
What makes March Madness and this tournament so great? These three consecutive weekends (four if you include the conference tournaments) are the most exciting basketball games of the year. It doesn’t matter what a team is ranked or what seed they are in the tournament. The games are extremely competitive, and any team can beat another. While a #16 seed has never beaten a #1 seed, there have been extremely close games, and there is always a possibility of it happening.
This is the time of the year when teams, players, and coaches can make a name for themselves. If teams peak at the right time, they can make a deep run into the tournament, even teams that were considered to have no chance. Yes, the fans live for these teams that overachieve during the tournament. They love to jump on the bandwagon of the underdog who is maximizing its potential.
But the tournament is not entirely about the teams competing. The fans have made a game out of filling out brackets as to who will win each game and the overall tournament. People get into groups and place small bets on their brackets. Whether it is just with friends or coworkers, these bets are generally just friendly wagers to add to the competition. Yes, this may be a big form of illegal gambling, but it is generally done innocently. Even major companies, such as ESPN, CBS, and Yahoo, allow you to fill out brackets on their websites to compete against other people in a sweepstakes style competition.
Overall, March Madness is one of the most anticipated times of the sports year. Even for the casual fan or those who don’t even really follow college basketball, this is an exciting time of the year. People buy into the hype because of how engaging and truly fantastic it is. They spend hours in a row watching games with teams they have barely heard of or have no allegiance to. Bosses allow workers to watch some games, and teachers even flip on games in their classrooms from time to time. There are the constant checks of smartphones for scoring updates or getting online to see how their bracket is doing. March Madness is just a fun time of the year because it is quality sports entertainment.