Marshall Snow Thomas
March is here, and for basketball fans, that can mean only thing, its time for March Madness. On Sunday, the brackets for the annual NCAA tournament were released, and sports fans couldn’t be more excited.
This year marks the 77th year that the NCAA college basketball tournament will be played, with the first tournament being played in 1939. Last year, Villanova beat North Carolina with a buzzer beater shot in the championship game, capping off one of the greatest games in college basketball history.
Its estimated that 70 million people will fill out brackets once they come out, which poses the question, why is American so enthralled with march madness?
College basketball, since 1939, has filled the gap between football and baseball, since NBA regular season is also occurring. In 1939, when the tournament first started, the bracket only featured eight teams. Since then, the popularity for the sport has grown, as well as the bracket size. In 2017, 68 teams will participate for the opportunity to win the championship trophy.
March Madness, year in and year out, provides with at least one all time classic, including the 1979 national championship. Why was that game so important? First, it matched Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans against Larry Bird’s Indiana State Cyclones. Second, it remains the most watched basketball game ever played. We can thank March Madness for introducing us to what would become one of the greatest rivalries in sports history.
The games begin on Thursday, and beginning on that day, office as well as classroom productivity hits a yearly low. Another reason why people are so drawn in, is because the tournament is single elimination, and because America loves excitement, we’re all on the edge of our seats. Besides, who could ever forget when Wisconsin knocked off previously undefeated Kentucky in the 2015 Final Four? Or even last March, when the number two seeded Michigan State were upset in the first round by 15 seed Middle Tennessee State? The Spartans came into the game as 16 point favorites, another reason why we love the madness, the upsets.
However, forget about picking a perfect bracket, because its never been done. There is a 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 chance of completing an absolutely perfect bracket. Nevertheless, you’ll see people in the office or students at the library stressing more about who they have going to the Sweet 16, than their final exams.
The madness, its one of the things that make this country great. It brings people together, whether its your office, study group or family, it brings us together, and that’s the best part of it all.