NCAA tournament provides upsets, drama, a clash of great programs

By Joe Giordano || Assistant Sports Editor

In a purely hypothetical situation, picture this. Someone walks up to me a few weeks ago and says the following: “I bet you one million dollars that the following things will happen in the NCAA Tournament: First, heavily favored Michigan State will lose in the first round to an unknown Middle Tennessee. Then, Stephen F. Austin will beat West Virginia, who was a lock on many people’s brackets to the elite eight. In addition, Arkansas Little Rock will defeat Big Ten powerhouse Purdue after a buzzer beater sent them into overtime and number 11 seeded Northern Iowa will defeat Texas on a half court buzzer beater. Lastly, Syracuse, a team who barely made it into the tournament, will make a final four run.” Jumping for joy at the prospect of an easy one million dollars, I would have taken it in a heartbeat (even though I don’t exactly have one million dollars to spare). Fortunately for me, this is a hypothetical circumstance because after an improbable three weeks I would be out one million dollars had I taken the bet. The events of the past three weeks of the college basketball tournament can only be described as one word: Madness.

Whenever March rolls around, I become very excited at the prospect, like so many others, of filling out a bracket for the tournament. As a college basketball fan, I spend a large amount of time (more than I would like to admit) examining the bracket top to bottom and every year I feel like I have just found the answer: the perfect bracket that must be correct. Everything seems too perfect; every upset seems right and the champion I have chosen seems unbeatable. I head into the first day oozing confidence that I will take home the prize in the pools I have entered. Then, one by one things start to go wrong. The sure-fire upset doesn’t go right. The team all the experts picked to win loses outright in the first round and the brilliant sleeper pick I had going to the elite eight loses to a team they should’ve beaten in a close game. I proceed to throw my hands up in the air and say, “How can this happen? This isn’t possible!” While I sit there in frustration about losing to my Mother who picks the games based on which mascot she prefers, I sit there and think, “Wow, this is the greatest time of year.” Even I, who watches college basketball all the time, cannot predict what will happen any better than my Mom who has no idea what she is doing. This is March Madness. No one can predict it. No one understands it. And that in itself is the true beauty of March Madness.

This year has certainly produced its share of amazing moments and has added to an already legendary history of the tournament. Christian Laettner’s buzzer beater, Gordon Hayward’s shot bouncing off the front of the rim, and Jim Valvano running around the court with no idea where to go are some of the iconic moments in the history of the sport and are immortalized through this showcase each March. While others may have their preference on other sports, in my opinion, nothing compares to watching college basketball players put it all on the line each March. This tournament showcases passion, determination, will to win, and most importantly: Madness. This tournament will come to a conclusion Monday night as the Villanova Wildcats will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels for the right to call themselves champions. I suggest you all tune in to TBS and see what college basketball is all about.

Sophomore Joe Giordano is the Assistant Sports Editor. His email is jgiorda1@fandm.edu.

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