On March 21st the month of anxiety will begin for college basketball fans. The March Madness brackets will be altered multiple times before fans confidently (and some hesitantly) submit their finals picks. Then the trepidation begins. The tossing and turning in your bed the night before, wondering if you really should've chosen the number 10 seed to beat the number 7 seed or if you overestimated your "sleeper" team's potential. If you are a Duke, Villanova, Gonzaga, or a Carolina fan, then you're pretty familiar with the feeling of winning, but nobody is safe when the "Madness" begins.
The beauty of March Madness is unpredictable upsets can happen at any moment. A No. 16 seed defeats a No. 1 (we will never forget, UVA), a No. 11 team makes it to the final four (and has four times), and in case you were wondering only ONCE have all four number one seeds made it to the Final Four. Many of the battles are certainly not over until the final minute...or buzzer. Almost everybody who submits a bracket knows the struggle of loving March Madness but also despising it at the same time.
What we love about March Madness...
Filling out your bracket gives you the same feeling as picking your favorite numbers for the lottery. A grin from ear to ear full of excitement with a pebble size feeling of hope. Once you create your bracket, then the good and bad upsets begin. A good upset can come from a sleeper team who begins their Cinderella run. A sleeper team is usually a team that is below a No. 5 seed with aspirations of following the classic David vs. Goliath story that has been making grown men and women cry over their ruined bracket for years. With unpredictable upsets come incredible buzzer beaters. Jimmy Valvano and the NC State Wolfpack ended their fairy tale story with an alley-oop buzzer beater in the 1983 National Championship. Kris Jenkins secured the National Championship title for Villanova in 2016 by draining a 3 pointer just beyond the arc. Iconic moments in sports history can happen in a single shot made at the right time in any of these games.
What we hate about March Madness...
When making your bracket the tough decisions usually arise with the number 8 and 9 seeds or the 7 and 10. These are the games that could go either way in a matter of minutes. If your higher seeds survive the first weekend of March Madness, you're usually still alive and in good shape. Watching the underdog come out on top is such a humbling experience unless you had them losing in the first round and now the underdog has ruined your second round and sweet sixteen. When you have a team in the final four lose early, your pebble size feeling of hope dwindles into more of a grain of sand.
Although March Madness is full of unexpected endings, the number one seeds have been consistently successful through the first couple of rounds each year. If you decide to take a risk while choosing your National Champion and stray away from the obvious predicted contenders, then you are either bias and select your favorite team, playing for fun, or have some money to spare.
March Madness will have you on the edge of your seat, make you curse in the middle of class while you're secretly watching the game on your phone, have you call out from work because of your "sudden cold" during the elite eight games, and possibly even make you question why you made a bracket in the first place.
Regardless of the things we may hate, it is one of the most exciting time in college sports that we love to watch each year. Pick well, my friends...Pick well.