March. The craziest month of the year for basketball fans around the country. While march may bring spring, it also brings march madness.
Each year basketball teams fight for a chance to play in the tournament, also known as the bring dance. Teams can get into the tournament through two different paths. Every conference winner gets an automatic bid, and then the best of the other teams recieve at-large bids. At-large bids are chosen by a selection committee that bases decisions on strength of schedule, RPI (rating percentage index), and wins and losses.
This year on March 15 the field of sixty-eight teams was announced. Each year conferences try and have the most teams make it to the tournament as validation that they are the best conference. This year the bids by conferences are: Big Ten: 7, Big 12: 7, ACC: 6, Big East: 6, SEC: 5, Pac-12: 4, A-10: 3, Mt West: 3, American: 2, MVC: 2, WCC: 2.
All three triangle schools, Duke, NC State, and UNC got an invitation to the tournament. Duke receiving a one seed, UNC receiving a four seed and NC State receiving an eight seed.
March Madness isn’t just all about teams fighting for a national championship. It is also about filling out brackets.
“Filling out my bracket is always fun. I fill it out right after the sixty-eight teams are announced” sophomore Lawson Strickland said.
While many people fill out brackets just for fun, some people play for money.
“Playing for money is a great way to earn money and bragging rights against your friends” senior Brooks Palmer said.
Since the bracket has expanded from sixty-four teams to sixty-eight teams, the tournament starts with the First Four. These games are played on Tuesday and Wednesday before the other games air Thursday and Friday.
In this year’s round of sixty-four upsets occurred just like every other year. The biggest upsets being two 14 seeds over 3 seeds. Two 11 seeds upset 6 seeds and one 10 seed shocked a 7 seed.
After an exciting round of 32, the tournament was narrowed down to 16 teams. This round of the tournament is called the Sweet Sixteen. This year’s Sweet Sixteen consisted of Kentucky, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Wichita State, NC State, Louisville, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Duke, Utah, UCLA, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, UNC, Xavier and Arizona.
These teams may be sweet but they must be elite to play in the next round. The field was cut in half to just 8 remaining teams. Kentucky, Notre Dame, Louisville, Michigan State, Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin and Arizona were the eight teams.
After Kentucky squeaked my Notre Dame they had their spot in the Final Four locked. Michigan State beat Louisville in an overtime thriller to secure their Final Four spot. Duke beat Gonzaga to ensure they had a Final Four spot. Lastly Wisconsin beat Arizona to lock up the last Final Four spot.
The most anticipated sporting event of all, the Final four. Kentucky versus Wisconsin and Duke versus Michigan State. Duke won by a margin of twenty against the Spartans from Michigan State and Wisconsin shocked the world when the ended Kentucky’s perfect season.
The stage was set for the national championship. Duke vs Wisconsin. Behind a strong performance from Duke’s freshman, Duke became national champions.
These year’s tournament was full of madness and the countdown till next year’s NCAA basketball tournament is already underway.