March Madness has started and fans all around the country are watching.
Since it began, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, has been one of the most beloved sporting events. With an average of 10.7 million viewers every year, the tournament’s popularity is some of the highest in the world of college sports. This year, March Madness will consist of 68 college teams competing in a bracket for the NCBA National Championship Trophy.
At Thomas Jefferson High School the anticipation is great among both teachers and students. World Language teacher Kyler Jackson stated, “Anybody could win on any day… I think everyone gets excited around this time because it is just unique.”
There are over 350 Division 1 basketball teams, divided among 32 conferences. At the end of the regular season, each conference will compete among themselves for a conference championship. Each conference champion gets an automatic bid (or spot) in the tournament. The remaining 36 bids will be awarded to the best of the remaining teams by the secession committee on Selection Sunday, which falls on March 12th.
The tournament bracket is divided into four geographic regions. This year the East will be played in New York, the Midwest in Kansas City, the South in Louisville, and the West in Las Vegas. Each Team in the tournament is ranked by their regional seed as well as their overall seed. It is extremely uncommon for a low seed to win a tournament. The most recent example of this was in 2014 when the seven seed UConn beat out the eight seed Kentucky and won the tournament. This year some of the most notable teams include Houston, UCLA, Kansas, and Alabama. UCLA has the most tournament wins, bringing home the trophy an impressive 11 times. The school has also produced notable players such as Kareem and Bill Walton, who later went on to play in the NBA. This year UCLA is looking to take the victory in March Madness for the first time since the 1990’s. Alabama has caught a lot of attention this year, as their basketball program has risen to become one of the best in the nation. These two teams are heavily favored in the tournament and will most likely both be awarded the number one seed in their region. Jackson stated, “Alabama impresses me quite a bit.” TJ Junior Charlie VanAbbema added that “It looks like Purdue has a good shot.”
March Madness takes an otherwise drab month and turns it into one of the most anticipated and beloved. Even critics of sports and physical activities can get caught up in the excitement of the tournament. It is safe to say that nobody can predict everything that is going to happen, and fans will all just have to wait and see what upsets and wonders will occur this year.