March Madness

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March Madness

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March madness is a phenomenon that grips the national sports psyche from the third week of March through the second week of April. This tournament determines the champions of college basketball. 64 of the most elite teams in the NCAA are put into an official bracket based on their seedings determined by how their season is going prior to March. Once the official bracket is announced, sports fans study and research teams playing each other and guess who will win each game to ensure they have a perfect bracket. For each game you guess right, you earn one point. The games are broken down into rounds, first round, second round, sweet 16, elite 8, final 4, and the championship game. As a new round starts, brackets start to fall apart. If you guess enough games wrong, your bracket “breaks,” common March madness lingo where none of your teams have made it to the round you thought they’d make it to. If you want to ensure that your team earns the title, this means they have to win six games in a row, one loss and the team is out. The chances of winning are slim, and achieving a perfect bracket is almost impossible. This high stakes environment where you witness upsets (where the best teams in the league lose to low seeded teams that aren’t expected to make it past the first round) and the desire for your bracket to be correct is what gave this tournament its name, March “madness.” This year with just the first and second round out of the way, there has already been many unexpected upsets. UC Irvine, a 13 seed team beat Kansas State, who is a 4 seed, and Mississippi St. a 5 seed lost to Liberty, a 12 seed. In the first round usually no teams are counted out yet, it’s when the elite 8 comes along and the teams winning could really upset sports fans. Last year, UMBC a 16 seed beat Virginia, a 1 seed, in the first round. Many thought Virginia would win the whole thing. This upset was shocking and busted a lot of brackets before the tournament could get underway. This year, only 1 perfect bracket remains. This is huge accomplishment, but will it last? We will see if it can withstand the sweet sixteen games as teams continue to compete for the title this Thursday.

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