March Madness: “an entire month of chaos”

Courtesy of Houston Chronicle

Courtesy of Houston Chronicle

Sam Bernardi, Staff Writer

The Super Bowl has come and gone, thus marking the end of another NFL season. NBA and NHL playoffs have yet to commence, and we are stuck in their regular seasons. Baseball is not on yet and the college football playoffs are over. We are in sports purgatory. So what would we do without the college basketball tournament? The month long, 68-team competition, where the unexpected is expected and champions are crowned. Easy-to-root for underdogs bust brackets and traditional powerhouses mightily fall. Endless chaos, and you may even win a few bucks. Ultimate glory, as well as heartbreaking defeat is on the line. This is March Madness.

From March to the beginning of April, 68 NCAA Basketball teams qualify for the culminating event. 32 conferences award an automatic bid to the tourney through winning their conference championship. A selection committee chooses the other 36 teams and controversy always stirs about who the final teams in are. For a majority of the auto-bids, they are not good enough to receive an at-large bid (the other 36 teams that did not win their conference tournament) so the madness for them begins in early March. The real craziness does not even begin until the brackets are formed.

This is when ESPN opens their annual Tournament Challenge. Millions of fans create entries and attempt to correctly guess the outcome of each and every game. The chances of doing so are so low that last year, Warren Buffett said that he would give $1 billion to anyone who made a perfect bracket. There were no new billionaires and probably never will be. This is the greatest part of March Madness. You never know what is going to happen next, making it seemingly impossible to predict every curveball the tournament throws at you. Freshman Andrew ElKadi remarked on how “when your bracket is busted, you feel awful.” Accepting the inevitability of having your bracket fall apart is hard to do.

This inevitability is mainly due to the annual upsets. This is where March Madness truly lives up to its name. Every year, a small school that not many outside of its campus have heard of somehow manages to take down a nationally ranked team. The amazing thing is, this is what is supposed to happen. If the better team won all the games, it’d just be called the March Basketball Tournament. In fact, in over 80 years, only once has all #1 seeds advanced to the final four. This anybody-can-beat-anyone factor is the key to one of the best sporting events on earth.  Sophomore Jared Leveson said, “The Super Bowl is the best, but only lasts one day. What makes the NCAA Tournament so great is the incredible buzzer beaters and unforgettable upsets. March Madness is an entire month of chaos.”

Indeed, there are many examples of March Madness chaos. Who could forget Florida Gulf Coast shocking the world and beating Georgetown a few years ago? Or in 1985 when as an 8 seed Villanova became the lowest seed to win the championship by stunning Georgetown? So fill in your brackets and be prepared to throw them away after the first round of games. Legends will be made and hearts will be broken. March Madness is here.

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