March Madness

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A March Madness bracket coming from Corbin

Corbin Lathrop, Sports Editor

For casual sports fans, college basketball often gets overlooked from November to February in favor of the NFL playoffs and the NBA’s drama-filled regular season. However, for one month each year, March Madness captivates the nation. The high-stakes, single-elimination, upset-ridden NCAA men’s basketball tournament is perhaps the highlight of the professional and collegiate sports calendar. No other event seems to garner the same level of attention as the tournament does for those three action-packed weekends. Die-hards, casual fans, and even those who haven’t watched a second of a game since last April’s national championship all flock to make their picks, competing with their friends, colleagues, and classmates for the coveted and never-before-achieved perfect bracket.

This year, the tournament is primed to be crazier than ever. No clear favorite emerged during the regular season, with top teams losing games to unranked opponents left and right. As of March 1st, seven teams had occupied the number one spot in the AP poll. On November 26th, then #1 Duke lost at home to Stephen F. Austin, but that wasn’t even the upset of the month. On November 12th, #1 Kentucky lost at home to the University of Evansville, who have since fired their head coach in the midst of losing 16 of 23 games, including going 0-12 in Missouri Valley Conference play. The drama certainly wasn’t not limited to #1 teams: traditional ‘blue bloods’ such as North Carolina and Virginia have had underwhelming seasons while mid-major programs –San Diego State and Dayton– will be near the top of the bracket. 

March 15th’s selection show is quickly approaching, with several mid-major conference tournaments beginning this week, and the rest soon to follow. The tournament is just around the corner, and WS students are gearing up for the madness.

“I can’t wait for the tournament this year. I have a feeling it’s going to be crazy, but,  honestly, it’s crazy every year. No matter what you think is going to happen, you’re probably going to be wrong,” said junior Austin Ohlmeyer.

Sixty-eight teams suit up for the tournament each year, and although the “First Four” play on Tuesday the 17th and Wednesday the 18th, tipoff at noon on Thursday the 19th truly marks the beginning of the tournament. With sixteen games each on Thursday and Friday, the drama is often at its peak on the very first days.

“Those first two days are the best to watch, I go straight home after school and just plop down on the couch to watch all the games. All day long there are two or even three great games going on, it might be the most entertaining sporting event of the year,” said junior Tre Jones.