Can you feel the madness? Did you catch the fever?
No, I’m not talking about the cold that you’re probably fighting, but I’m talking about March Madness!
Well, it has began this week with the various conference tournaments that will place 31 schools into the round of 68. I find this lead up to the “Big Dance” as a great introduction to the smaller and lesser known schools, who get their rare opportunity to receive some deserved recognition.
Whether, it’s NEC champs Long Island University-Brooklyn who will make their second straight tournament appearance. VCU(CAA), Detroit(Horizon) and Montana(Big Sky) have already punched their ticket to the first round. Yet, the week really kicks into high gear when the “major” conference tournaments start such as the Big East, Big 12, SEC and ACC.
Here, is when we get a chance to see the big boys like Syracuse, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina mix it up in front crazed college kids, bragging alumni and frantic basketball fans on a national stage. Various games are played all day and night with the hopes and dreams of young ballers who work all season for their one shot at greatness.
Yet, the most interesting part of these wild seven days are watching which “Bubble” teams play their way in or out of the tournament. This year teams like Seton Hall, Arizona and Connecticut are fighting for like one of the few remaining at-large bids. “Championship Week” concludes with Selection Sunday, when the other 37 at-large teams are selected to fill out the 68 team field that will compete for a championship in New Orleans.
Starting this Tuesday, the “play-in” games will begin the “Madness”. As the heart pounding, action-packed games lead to thrilling last second shots and heart-breaking losses. I wonder which “major” teams will be upset? Which “mid-major” school will be a bracket-buster? Will there be another “cinderella” story like Butler this year? All of these questions will be answered by the time, we reach the Final Four at the end of the month.
As, the eventual NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions raise their trophy in victory. I feel like all college basketball fans are winners for being able to witness all of the suspense, drama and triumphs that come in this month of Madness!
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Written by Mark Cook