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March Madness Brings Upset Sadness

Zachary Snider, Staff Journalist

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March Madness is the time of year when the college basketball regular season is nearing its end, but the postseason play is just getting started.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament takes place. The name March Madness comes from two components: most of the tournament takes place in March and madness is sure to come from unexpected outcomes. There is a lot on the line including but not limited to bragging rights, prestige, and respect. All of that is lost if a team   loses one game in the tournament.

At the end of the NCAA basketball tournament, a national champion is crowned. A season full of fighting for the top spot will pay off for the team that plays the best. With winning a championship comes greater recognition of a program’s prestige. This gives a program more respect and gives them a better chance of recruiting better players.

The NCAA tournament first began in 1939 as a single elimination postseason tournament according to ncaa.com. It has continued to be played every year since. The NCAA tournament used to only be made up of eight teams, but has expanded over the years to sixty eight teams.

Thirty two teams make the tournament for winning their conference championship. The remaining spots are filled with teams chosen by the selection committee on selection Sunday.  The best teams are determined by the number of wins they have, how they did in their conference tournament, outstanding wins/ losses,  and their strength of schedule (this is determined by what teams a team played and how good they are).

The first four games of the tournament are play-in games. In these games, eight teams play one last game to make the round of sixty four. The four teams that win make it to the next round, (round of sixty four), and the four teams that lose are done with their season and do not get to play in the tournament..

After these four play-in games is the round of sixty four. The round of sixty four is one that is exciting because many upsets often occur. Because there are sixty eight teams in the tournament, there is not enough time to have every team play in the same stadium. It would take too long.

The bracket for the tournament is divided up into four regions which each contain sixteen teams. These teams are matched up based on how good a team is considered. The teams considered the best are matched up against the teams that are considered the worst. Teams are ranked by a seed number they are given. One is the best, sixteen is the worst. The one seed teams are matched up with the sixteen seeds, the two seeds with the fifteen seeds, and so on.

Some games to watch out for are the sixteen versus one seed games. A sixteen seed has never defeated a one seed, but maybe this will be the year. Upsets, or unexpected wins are bound to occur each year. Another match-up to watch for upsets is the fifteen and two seed games because unlike the one and sixteen seed games, there have been a few occasions where a fifteen seed managed to upset a two seed. One example was two seed Duke losing to fifteen seed Lehigh in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

Next is the round of thirty two. Here, the winners from the second round play. This helps to show how good some teams are. Although some teams are known to be good at this point, some may have had a lucky win in the second round. If a team wins with a major upset in the second round, they could be good or they could be lucky. This is often shown in the second round. This is another round in which upsets can occur. After this point, no game is too much of an upset because the teams that make it to the sweet sixteen (the next round) are all playing well.

The sweet sixteen is a milestone in the tournament because it is the halfway point on the road to the championship. The sweet sixteen is also the regional semi-final game. The sweet sixteen games will be played in the Sprint Center (Kansas City), The Fedex Forum (Memphis), Madison Square Garden (New York), and the SAP Center (San Jose).

The next round is the elite eight. One game away from the final four. This is the regional finals, the first game where a one seed and two seed can play each other. These games rarely have major upsets because the teams who have made it this far have proven themselves to be strong. These are often good games to watch for quality basketball because only the best teams make it this far.

The final four is the second to last round. The teams that make it this far have bragging rights even if they lose. As the name may have given away, few teams make it this far, and those that do are one win away from the championship game and all the glory.

The last round consists of one game, the one game that means more than all others played in the season, the one game that crowns the best team, the championship. This game gives one team bragging rights for the year and forever. The more championships a team has the better they are considered historically.

Fans and players alike use national championships to determine how their team compares to other teams throughout history. According to ncaa.com, the following teams have more than two championships:

  1. UCLA (11)
  2. Kentucky (8)
  3. Duke (5)
  4. Indiana (5)
  5. North Carolina (5)
  6. Connecticut (4)
  7. Kansas (3)
  8. Louisville (3)

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), according to ncaa.com, currently holds not only the most championships, but they also have the most consecutive championship wins with seven in a row (1967-1973).

The eight teams listed above are often considered to be some of the best teams and they consistently perform well in the NCAA tournament.  The teams listed above have all won more than half the games they have played. A ratio of wins/games played shows the proportion of games won to games played. Their wins/games played ratios are as follows:

  1. UCLA (.722)
  2. Kentucky (.711)
  3. Duke (.755)
  4. Indiana (.660)
  5. North Carolina (.727)
  6. Connecticut (.663)
  7. Kansas (.694)
  8. Louisville (.641)

Another method of measuring how well teams perform is by looking to their number of Final Four appearances. While  reaching the Final Four is not considered as prestigious as winning the championship, it is still an achievement. According to ncaa.com, the following teams have the most final four appearances:

  1. North Carolina (19)
  2. Kentucky (17)
  3. UCLA (17)
  4. Duke (16)
  5. Kansas (14)
  6. Louisville (10)
  7. Ohio State (10)
  8. Michigan State (9)

There are still many games to be played in the college basketball season and many unexpected events can occur. Teams can be upset and players be suspended or injured. All of these scenarios can hurt a team. If a star player is lost and nobody on the team can fill the position, then the team is probably not going to play as well as they did with that player. One key player can mean the difference between success and failure.

Men’s college basketball is a sport that means more at some schools than it does at others. In fact, some colleges’ basketball teams have major followings and great traditions.

One example is the University of Kentucky (UK). UK is one of the best basketball programs currently and throughout history. At UK, basketball is the sport that matters most because it is not a football powerhouse. Fans can usually rely on the basketball team to have a good season when the football team does not. On top of that Kentucky’s basketball history is a deep one and fans hope each season will be one that will be remembered. They are consistently ranked near or at the top nationally. They have two big traditions: Big Blue Madness and the Blue and White Game. Big Blue Madness is a preseason event for Kentucky basketball to get players and fans alike excited for the basketball season.

Another big basketball school is Indiana University (IU). At IU they have some superstitions. They have a fountain which used to contain statues of fish. When IU won their last national championship in 1987, students took the fish and hid them around campus. To this day, one of the fish is still missing and there is a theory behind it. Students and staff believe the final statue will not be returned until IU wins its next national championship  or until they apologize to Bobby Knight according to indiana.edu.

Some people think they know what teams are going to do well and no so well in the tournament.

Rohan Bellary, junior at South Oldham High School (SOHS), believes that Louisville, Oregon, Virginia, and UCLA will do well this year, and in the end he believes Louisville will win it all. Bellary believes that Syracuse is a team to watch for because they may not be ranked at the top, but they are playing well.

Collin Deshler, sophomore at SOHS, believes in the Big 12 conference claiming Baylor and Kansas will do well with Kansas winning it all. The team he thinks people should Watch for is Texas Tech.

English teacher at SOHS, Suzanne Raque, has made some rather bold predictions, claiming Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, and North Carolina will play well. On the other hand she says Gonzaga is overrated because they have a rather easy schedule, IU will not make the tournament, and Kansas will not make it far. In the end she, claims Duke will win and people need to watch out for Virginia and West Virginia.

March Madness is the most exciting time of year for college basketball fans. Whether somebody’s team wins or loses, there is plenty of games to watch, and plenty of moments to bring out the excitement in each person. This tournament has been around for many years and it shows no sign going away anytime soon.

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The Student News Site of South Oldham High School
March Madness Brings Upset Sadness