Let the madness begin

Erin Madden


March is one of the best months in terms of college sports, perhaps the entire sporting world. Why is it so special? Two words: March Madness.

The words bubble over with excitement from the mouths of basketball fans everywhere. My mouth is practically watering just thinking about all the games that are to come. My laptop is about to get a workout with all the live-streaming that I will be doing.

Even though Franciscan basketball has been over for a few weeks now, our attention turns to our favorite big-name teams like Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina.

But what’s the big deal? Isn’t it just an extra couple of weeks of basketball games?

With the beginning of the month comes the end of the regular season, conference tournaments and, the granddaddy of them all, the NCAA tournament, which is also called “the big dance.”

On “Selection Sunday,” 32 teams receive an automatic bid by winning their respective conference tournaments, and another 36 receive at-large bids for a field of 68 teams. Brackets are printed and the nation tunes in starting with the “First Four” round on March 17.

The fun really begins on March 19 with the second-round games —16 games in one day across four channels. Fans can flip from one game to the next to the next, starting at noon and going on for hours.

Most of the upsets come early on in the tournament. I watch for the upsets. I root for the school that comes from the tiny conference that plays to shock the world, the team that is just excited to have even made the tournament. I hope that, one of these days, a no. 16 will finally take down a no. 1 seed.

Then, as the tournament moves on, the games get less frequent but more intense as the drive to win is heightened. We see one or two “Cinderellas” continue to shock the basketball world, shaking up people’s brackets by knocking out some favorites.

Only one team can take home the title. Will Kentucky finish the season an undefeated 40-0? Does anyone else have the capability to win?

These few weeks in March are so exciting because the student athletes play for love of the game, for the desire to be recognized as no. 1 in their conference or even in the country.

As a college sports fan, it doesn’t get any better than this.