Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Madness: What's all the excitement about?

I LOVE college basketball.  Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you about my obsession with ASU basketball.  Peter and I go to every single home game.  We wear our Maroon & Gold and cheer loudly for our Sun Devils.  If you have never been to a college basketball game, you don’t know how much fun you are missing.  These games are entertaining, loud and very exciting.  At ASU we are fortunate to have a dedicated group of student fans, known as the 942 crew, named after the 942 seats they fill each game & these students yell, dance, cheer and add so much fun to the games.  Even folks who don’t typically like basketball will enjoy the atmosphere and exhilaration of college basketball games. 

For us basketball fans, we are entering the most exciting time of the year – March Madness.  During the month of March, all NCAA Basketball teams are vying for their place in the ‘Big Dance’, the tournament that will decide who will be crowned as College basketball’s national champions for the year.  Teams participate in their own conference tournament first (ASU is in the PAC 12 Conference) & a win in your own conference assures a spot in the NCAA tournament. 

Unlike professional sports, watching college games shows the hope and potential of these young athletes.  The magic of March madness is in the incredible last minute finishes, the amazing effort of the players, the genuine excitement and camaraderie of the teams.  Everyone wants to be the best – and playing at the NCAA tournament, or the ‘Big Dance’ as some fans refer to it, is the way to showcase your team’s talent and make a name for yourself.  Fans who watch the tournament games are always treated to some unexpected surprises, some big upsets – when well known power house teams are beaten by virtual unknowns, and there is always some excellent basketball. 
For those of you unfamiliar with this whole March madness thing, here are some basics:
  • On March 16 – the names of the teams who will advance to the tournament will be announced.  This is called Selection Sunday.  Teams that don’t make it, may be asked to come play at other less prestigious tournaments like the NIT
  • 68 total teams will have the chance to become the best in the country.  The first few rounds go quickly, as some teams lose right away & are given the label “one and done”.  During this single elimination tournament, a single loss and you are out.  As teams advance the number of teams competing shrinks. 
  • When there are only 16 teams left in the tournament, these games are referred to as the Sweet 16. 
  • Those teams that advance will move on to the Elite Eight.
  • The winners will then be included in the very prestigious Final Four. 
  • The two winning teams will then compete for the national championship title.
Fans like to follow along by filling out their bracket, which is simply a chart to show the process of teams advancing.

It is a lot of fun so if you are ‘game’ – grab a bracket and a pen and get busy watching some incredible college basketball – I’m sure you will be glad you did.

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