March Madness

Every month of the year has something that it is known for. December is known for the 25 days of Christmas. July has lots of fireworks because of the Fourth of July. January is known for the New Year, a fresh start at life. Don’t forget about the pumpkins and turkeys in November. Most importantly, March has madness. If you have been living under a rock for all of March, you should know that the NCAA hosts a basketball tournament for college basketball teams every March. This basketball tournament is called March Madness.

The March Madness tournament is a 72-team single elimination tournament. A committee — athletic directors and conference commissioners throughout Division I men’s athletics — meets to select the 72 college teams that are deemed worthy of playing in the NCAA March Madness tournament. 32 teams gain automatic entry in the tournament by winning their conference’s championship. The remaining 40 teams rely on the selection committee to award them an at-large bid in the tournament. The committee members use a complex mathematical equation that calculates each Division I team’s strength of schedule, evaluates their overall record and conference record, and then evaluates their key wins and losses. This equation spits out a magic number that lets the committee know how well each team played throughout the season. The committee picks the remaining 40 teams based off this number.

The first couple of days of the tournament feature the bottom eight teams invited to play. This year, these teams were: LIU-Brooklyn, Radford, NC Central, Texas Southern, St. Bona, UCLA, Arizona State, and Syracuse. Only four of the first eight teams enter the round of 64 in the March Madness tournament. Texas Southern, Radford, St. Bona, and Syracuse advanced to the field of 64. There are then two days dedicated to the field of 64. Both of these days are action packed; 16 games are played each day. This is where the madness happens as many upsets happen in the round of 64. After the round of 64, there is the round of 32, then the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four and finally, the National Championship.

Filling out a tournament bracket is one of the best and worst things about March Madness. Modern technology has made it possible to electronically fill out a bracket and create a group to compare your bracket with your friends. In the history of the tournament, no one has ever filled out a perfect bracket. It seems as if the harder one thinks their bracket, the more unlikely their bracket will be perfect.

There are certain rules that go into filling out a good bracket. The first rule is to always pick the number one seeds to beat the sixteen seeds in the round of 64. Try to predict key upsets. Choose a Cinderella team, this is a team that is usually a low seed that makes it far in the tournament. Finally, never choose all four number one seeds to be in the Final Four, as tempting as that may seem.

This year’s March Madness tournament was truly mad. My bracket, for one, was trash. I only choose two out of the eight Elite Eight teams, and I had no correct teams in the Final Four. Only 550 brackets out of more than 12,000 brackets recorded chose all four of the final four teams. This March Madness was historic because the first rule of filling out a bracket was finally broken when the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers beat the consensus number one team in the tournament, the University of Virginia (UVA). UMBC busted everyone’s bracket, because most people’s bracket had UVA going to the Final Four.

Loyola-Chicago was an unexpected Cinderella team this tournament. They were an 11-seed team that only made it to the tournament because they were the Missouri Valley Conference champions. Loyola-Chicago beat six-seed Miami, three-seed Tennessee, seven-seed Nevada and nine-seed Kansas State to make it to the Final Four. Loyola-Chicago eventually lost to three-seed Michigan in the Final Four.

The Final Four game was held on March 31. Loyola-Chicago faced Michigan while Villanova faced Kansas. Michigan beat the tournament’s Cinderella team, Loyola-Chicago, and Villanova crushed Kansa. Number one-seed Villanova met number three-seed Michigan in the National Championship game. Again, Villanova showed their dominance and defeated Michigan by a score of 79-62. Villanova became the 2018 National Champions. Congrats to the people who chose them to win it all in their brackets. As for everyone else, there is always next year