The Magic of March Madness

Published: March 24, 2016

Commentary by

CHRISTIAN MCVEIGH

Finally, the absolute best time of the year in the sports world has arrived. This is Christmas, Easter and Halloween combined for sports fans…it is March Madness.

For those who do not know, March Madness refers to the NCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament, as well as all of the madness and insanity that comes along with it. It consists of 64 teams, all of which are seeded and placed into one of four brackets. When a team wins a game, they advance in the tournament from the round of 64 to the round of 32 and then to the sweet 16, which is then followed by the Elite Eight, the Final Four and, lastly, the championship.

To be one of these 64 teams, each team either wins their conference tournament or is voted in by a committee. This committee decides the seed of each team and which teams are in the tournament, other than the teams which win their conference tournament and receive an automatic entry into the tournament.

At this point, you are probably thinking that this is just a regular basketball tournament…you could not be more wrong. The greatest part about March Madness is the making of a bracket. Almost everyone watching the tournament and even many who won’t watch it will still fill out a bracket.

This “bracket” is basically a template of the entire tournament in which the only slots filled out are the teams playing in the first games. From there, you must decide who you think will win every game in the tournament, from the first round to the championship. If you think this sounds easy, try it, because it’s almost impossible – So impossible that nobody has ever made it past the sweet sixteen with a perfect bracket despite the $1 million prize. It is so difficult in fact that this year Warren Buffett offered $1 million per year for life to anyone who could make it to the sweet sixteen with a perfect bracket. No perfect brackets remained after the first round.

The cause of all of these broken brackets and the difficulty behind March Madness is known as “upsets.” Upsets are the greatest part of March Madness and a key factor in the “madness.” Upsets are when a lower seed, usually an unknown team, beats a higher seed that is much more well-known and breaks everyone’s bracket. Despite everyone saying “they can’t lose” and “that is an easy win,” upsets continue to happen and they continue to break hearts… just ask anyone that picked Michigan State to win it all this year.

It’s amazing not because I get to watch other people dread their brackets as mine survives, but more because of what the basketball viewers can witness in the tournament – Full-court shots, buzzer-beaters, turnovers and anything else you can imagine, March Madness has it all. Anyone who has seen this year’s tournament knows what I am talking about. The best part about this magical type of basketball is that anyone with a horse still in the race in the Sweet Sixteen turns into a die-hard fan for a few weeks of their lives. It doesn’t matter if you do not know basketball or if you do not watch television, just pick a team and there is a chance you can be the champion of your bracket.

So I beg all of you, please, do not miss one more year of this awesome event. To me, it is by far the best sporting event of the year, and players think that too…I guess there is just something about March.

Contact the writer: christian.mcveigh@scranton.edu

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