Madness in March

By: Nicole Bott

Staff Reporter

It’s that time of year again, a sporting event that started back in 1939 that makes fans rowdier than normal at college basketball games. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is being played, which is also known as March Madness.

“It’s the best three weeks in sports,” said sports broadcasting professor Robert Coloney. “It’s so exciting whether you know a ton about college basketball or not. Those who don’t tend to be the people who win their brackets the most.”

March Madness is a single-elimination round tournament that contains 68 teams who will compete in seven rounds for the National Championship.

On March 13, the first two games of the tournament were played. The results included St. Bonaventure defeated the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Radford defeating Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn.

After the first two rounds conclude, teams move on to the Regional Semifinals, also known as the “Sweet Sixteen.” Once eight teams are eliminated, the remaining eight compete in the Regional Finals, also known as the “Elite Eight.”

Four teams then move on to the National Semifinals, which is the “Final Four,” and the last two teams play in the National Championship. The “Final Four,” is what everybody longs for, especially those who participate in their own brackets.

Brackets can be fun whether you watch college basketball all season, or only in March. They make this tournament more fun and competitive among fans.

“It makes the tournament more exciting and gives you something to root for,” said sophomore Daniel Panichella.

Coloney gives his class an assignment to partake in brackets for the tournament, so they become more engaged. The students who get the most teams right within their brackets will receive extra credit for the course.

People who participate in brackets usually have different answers for who will win March Madness.

“Virginia will win because they have a strong all-around team,” said sophomore David Esposito. “The defense and offense are very strong, and defenses win championships.”

However, the top overall seeded Virginia Cavaliers were upset by the 16th seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) on March 16, 74-54. It was the first time in men’s tournament history that a 16th seed defeated a No. 1 seed.

For college students, March Madness is an exciting time of the year that can appeal to even those who don’t understand basketball.

“What appeals to me is that these players are the same age as us and that they are doing big things,” said sophomore Daniel Panichella.

A key term to know when it comes to March Madness is “sleeper.” A sleeper is the “underdog” of the tournament. It is who people think have potential to go further than expected that no one saw coming.

Not every team in the tournament is a big name school that is widely known, such as Duke or Villanova.

These 68 teams are chosen in two different ways. The automatic qualifiers that receive bids are those who are eligible for postseason play and win their conference tournament. The other way a team can make it is through the Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee decides which 36 additional teams who were not automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Tournament. On March 11, Selection Sunday took place, which announced the Selection Committee’s NCAA Tournament bracket, including all teams and seeds.

On March 31, the tournament will be narrowed down from 68 to four teams. The teams that win their “Final Four,” matchups will move on to the championship game, which will be played on April 2.

“It’s one of the most exciting times of the year for sports,” said Coloney. “There is so much action in a condensed amount of time.”

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