Madness in March?

March Madness has been a cultural staple in the United States since its inaugural tournament in 1939. Students, families and co-workers all fill out brackets for who they think will win the tournament. It is an opportunity to compete in a tournament with those close to you while being as intense as you want it to be—some may make large wagers with real money and some may compete just for fun. Regardless of the investment made, March Madness has a way of bringing people together.  

College basketball is not as popular as the major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA or MLB. However, March Madness is comparable to the Super Bowl in how it captures the attention of sports fans and non-fans alike. Some follow only to see if their alma-mater is doing well, while others only pick up the basics to use as small talk material with that big sports fan in the break room. The tournament being single elimination allows the barrier of entry for filling out a bracket to remain low as there will be numerous upsets every year. Someone who only fills out a bracket based on which school is the coolest in their eyes has almost as good of a chance as the expert that spends countless hours preparing.  

All the extra eyes on the tournament is great for the student-athletes participating. There are many examples, like UCONN point guard Kemba Walker, where players go from relatively unknown to one of the most popular people in the country. While the tournament is where a lot of players will play their last official games, it is also their final shot to put out positive tape in a hope to get drafted to the NBA. Those factors in a single elimination tournament create a perfect storm for magical moments for the players, and by extension the fans. 

Even the people that don’t particularly enjoy sports can acknowledge that there is value in March Madness and often times enjoy getting sucked into the madness of it all. If you do not know anyone that is hosting a bracket competition, there are open competitions on most sports websites including an opportunity to win $1 million from USA Today if you manage to craft a perfect bracket. So, whether you are a first-time bracketologist or you’re hunting a perfect bracket after years of practice, there are always reasons to tune into the tournament. 

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