Everybody Loves March Madness

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Courtesy Tribune News Service

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) looks to recover a loose ball from Georgia Bulldogs Kenny Gaines (12) in their second round game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament

With March about half over, some are rooting for time to fly because they’re just sick of the cold weather, basketball fans on the other hand are fanatic about “March Madness.” The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is a time for basketball fans to have an excuse to sit and watch TV, and for others it’s also a time to fill out ‘brackets’ (which has always been a sort of “fantasy basketball” amusement), and throw some money into a pool.

The games can also be seen live if you have the money and the time.  The March Madness tournament is being hosted in cities such as Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Portland, Louisville, Charlotte, Columbus, Omaha, Seattle, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Syracuse, and Houston. Of these places, ticket sales are selling out quickly in Louisville (perhaps capitalizing on Wildcat fever), Omaha, and Seattle. The demand for tickets in these cities shows how valuable home games are to ticket buyers, and ticket sellers.

With the amount of teams playing, the amount of outcomes is almost overwhelming. With a total of 64 teams in the tournament, bracket making and predicting what teams will win and make it all the way, and which teams will be knocked out and which can be difficult. The outcomes are totally different depending on who is predicting it. March madness is always predicted to have teams that “upset”, whether it happens or not is another story, and is just a hope for some die-hard fans. Filling out brackets has become a science on ESPN, with a section called “Bracketology”. Whether you follow the experts or not, it will still be hard to fill out the perfect bracket.

Round 1 of March Madness was played on Thursday, March 19th. With one upset already hitting some of those brackets hard, some are wondering what the rest of the rounds will consist of. The rounds are played in “one and done” form, which means whichever team loses between the two is done with the tournament. Each time a new round is played, there are less and less teams.

In last years of the NCAA tournament, no team had more than a 15% chance at winning over another team. In 2011, Duke led with a 22% chance, and Kentucky led with a 27% chance. This year, Kentucky has a 41% chance to win. Although Kentucky has a high chance, and also has many people betting money they will win, there’s still a chance Kentucky could stumble along the way. Only time will tell for Kentucky fans.

But the impatience is common to any basketball fanatic watching the tournament, and that shared experience is part of what brings people together. Many different people predict different teams and man different upsets. The final game for the NCAA Championship tournament will take place on April 6th, and millions will be watching.