For college basketball fans, March is sacred. Even for the casual sports fan, the month is pretty special.
Of course I’m talking about the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Sixty-eight teams enter, and only one comes out of the madness alive. It’s called March Madness for a reason. For 21 days, we’re treated to the best sporting event on planet Earth, and I don’t think there’s a close second.
The first round will start tomorrow with a bevy of different games to choose from. That’s one of my favorite parts about the tournament. Those first few days, one channel can’t fit them all. Instead, they’re spread across four different stations (CBS, Tru TV, TNT, TBS). It’s an all-day affair, too. Not only are the games played at night and in the afternoon, they’re also played in the morning.
Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting this, but I can think back to my college days and remember streaming one or two on an iPad in the middle of biology class. I can’t remember a single equation or formula, but Harvard’s upset of New Mexico State remains fresh. Ok, so I’m only half-joking.
But that’s another thing that makes the tournament so great. It’s the fact that anybody can beat anybody. Unlike college football, there’s great parity in college basketball. I mean, how many teams have a legit shot at winning a national championship in football next season? Alabama and Clemson. And maybe Georgia or Oklahoma, but that’s it, really.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of 10 teams who could go on a run throughout the NCAA Tournament these next few weeks and win it all. That uncertainty is what makes it so exciting. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the sport’s blue blood programs or a team filled with five-star talent. It doesn’t matter how Goliath-esque your team is. Just know that when David readies his sling and hurls that stone, you better be ready.
Remember last season’s tournament? Virginia became the first-ever No. 1 seed to be eliminated by a 16-seed (UMBC). Since 1991, eight 2-seeds have lost to 15-seeds, and going back to 1986, a whopping 21 3-seeds have fell victims to 14-seeds. Those lists are sure to grow tomorrow and Friday, and many brackets, including mine, will be busted.
Regardless, that’s my favorite part of the whole thing. Sure, I probably don’t know anything about half the teams in the field of 68, but I like to think I do when filling out my ESPN bracket. Over 17 million were submitted on the site last season, and only 2.4 percent of them correctly picked a Michigan-Villanova title game.
The Wildcats of course went on to win their second title in three seasons. I wouldn’t bet on them winning another this year, but who knows? This is March.