WRITTEN BY DANNY EMERMANWhat's with all the hullabaloo about March Madness, huh? It's just a bunch of college kids playing a few games, correct? Most of the players won't even play at the NBA level! The level of play at the professional level is so much better and more entertaining..... WRONG!
This post goes out to all the March Madness haters out there who don't believe in any of it. March Madness is the best sporting event in the whole year! That's right I said it! Better than the Super Bowl, better than the NBA Finals (unless it's Celtics vs Lakers), and better than the World Series. Now, I'm not including the Olympics or World Cup in my rankings, but I would personally put the Big Dance at the top of my list.
The atmosphere at all of the games is like no other; the bands, cheerleaders, and drunk college kids who paint their bodies contribute to one of the best fan atmosphere in all of sports. And I'm not even talking about the Final Four games or the small schools, every game is intensified to the maximum by the crowd.
Even if your team or college isn't in it, it's still awesome to watch the games because of the bracket aspect of the March Madness tournament. One of the two teams that I actually followed during the regular season, University of Maryland, didn't even make the final cut of 68 teams, but this tournament has still been awesome. The other team that I followed, the University of North Carolina lost to Kansas in the second round. Even still, the games have been exciting, and some of them have come down to the wire; there was even one with drama in it. I'll get to that one later.
Did I make a bracket? Yes? Does it suck? Yes.
My bracket is just like most brackets this year: busted. But that doesn't really matter to me even though I lost 10 dollars. Because filling out a bracket fulfilled the human desire that every sports fan has: to possibly have a perfect bracket and predict all the games correctly. That was my dream headed into the tournament. I knew it would be tough because there is really no clear-cut favorite and all the teams are actually pretty equal if you just use the eye test and ignore the seeding next to their names. But in reality, the last perfect bracket made on ESPN was in the year 2010, when Alex Herrman, and autistic 17 year old, picked all the right teams. According to Michael Weimerskirch, a math professor at Augsburg College, you have about a 1-in-100,000,000,000,000,000,000 odds; 1 and one trillion-million. My tips (you probably don't want to take tips from me) are to pick the teams who have more starting seniors, a point guard who averages less than 4 turnovers a game and more than 9 assists per game, a tall center who can get boards, and a seasoned head coach who has proven to win big games. For the record, I'm picking a Syracuse vs. Louisville championship game.
As for the drama, the usual buzzer beaters and overtime games that come with all types of basketball-standard. But everything is blown out of proportion because every game has huge stakes and every game is win or go home. The most recent type of drama has actually been injury. Kevin Ware of Louisville had a horrific freak injury in which his leg bone went 6 inches out of his leg! It was disgusting! Apparently, he was at such amount of pain that he didn't really feel it so much and he was screaming. Not in pain, but in motivation. "Just win the game!" The heroic guard said to his teammates as he got carried out of the arena.
March Madness is also great because the referees are unbiased and fair, unlike the pro-superstar referees in the NBA. There was actually some buzz about Lebron James fussing about the calls in the Heat-Bulls game in which the Heat lost while Lebron got hammered quite a few times. Although he did indeed get fouled hard about 3 or 4 times, he, along with the five other best players in the game should, should not be complaining about getting calls. King James gets an average 2.3 fouls called on him per game. Shut up Lebron! Also, even though the talent at the collegiate level is obviously mediocre compared to the NBA; it's just a different type of competitiveness because: a) no player EVER takes a night off and mails the game in. b) because of the spread in talent, there is almost always an unsung hero who comes up big for his team, a la Mitch McGary for Michigan. Those are the biggest reasons why in general, NCAA College Basketball is more appealing to watch as a basketball fan who doesn't have a favorite NBA team or just wants to see the game played right.
All in all, March Madness should be cherished by all sports fans because of the emotions, fairness, purity of the sport, and raw excitement. Plus, it's definitely the best 4 weeks of sports in all of the world!