By, Becca G. 21′ and Anna M. ’21
In the eyes of avid college basketball watchers, the entire month of March is dedicated to the overwhelming intensity and competition that comes with watching the most anticipated sporting event at the college level: the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Filled with astonishing surprises and unexpected outcomes, there is no shame when fans park themselves on their couches for days on end, unable to tear themselves from the excitement that comes with March Madness.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, was founded in 1939. The Men’s Division I Basketball tournament, often called “March Madness,” consists of 68 different college teams. It captures the attention of college graduates across the country; many choose to support their alma mater and take much pride in the tournament. Julia F. ’21 said she “always hears [her] friends talking about the tournament and the latest statistics on all their favorite teams.” The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has the most championship wins: 11, 10 of which were in the span of 11 years. In more recent years, the tournament has been dominated by other college powerhouses, such as Duke University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Florida.
Last year, first seed Villanova University took home the trophy that marked their third March Madness win. The tournament typically contains at least a few upsets, and last year was no exception, the biggest being number one seed University of Virginia’s loss to 16th seed University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the first round. This was the first time ever that a number one seed team lost their opener.
One fun aspect of March Madness is making a bracket. Over 70 million Americans last year created a March Madness bracket, including Barack Obama who called the practice a “national pastime.” The odds of creating a perfect bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion— one is more likely to die from a vending machine, become president, or win the Mega Millions jackpot than create a perfect bracket. No one has ever created a perfect bracket. Each year the tournament laughs in the face of die-hard fans, as upsets are common. But the unexpected nature of the tournament actually increases the appeal of making a bracket, as people try and predict the unpredictable. Eve L. ’21 has made brackets in the past, and said that they “are a fun way for her family to compete through their love of basketball.”
This year, the March Madness tournament begins on March 19, 2019, and ends on April 8, 2019. Although the official rankings for the tournament are not out until the end of the season, thus far, Duke University, Gonzaga University, and the University of Virginia are amongst the most highly ranked. Chloe D. ’21 said “[she worries] about Duke’s stance in the tournament after their star player, Zion Williamson, faced a knee injury a couple weeks ago against [the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]. [She] hopes he will be ready to play in time.”
The tournament will certainly be interesting to watch this year, and all the bracket-makers should beware because, as we have seen in the past, anything can happen during the NCAA March Madness Tournament.
If you would like to try your luck at creating a bracket this year, go to this site to print one out.