Enjoy the Madness
What’s better than watching 18 to 22 year-old guys run around, throw a ball into a hoop, and miss about a month of class to compete in a 68-team single elimination tournament on national television? If you ask me, a 19 year-old guy who goes to school to run around and throw a ball into a hoop, nothing.
College basketball is flawed at basically every level. There is corruption within recruiting—the NCAA is currently under FBI investigation to weed out said corruption. Coaches are dropping cash like it’s part of their job description. The sport itself is admittedly played at a lower quality than the pros, and these athletes see none of the money that they help generate to the NCAA’s billion dollar business.
I dare even the most cynical basketball fan to watch any one shining moment and not get emotional. Why? Because March Madness is perhaps the most emotionally charged tournament on planet earth.
I urge you to go to YouTube and watch RJ Hunter’s game winning three point shot from the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The first time you watch, just enjoy it. See the crowd go wild, listen to the announcers go crazy, look at how much this one shot meant to everyone on the court. But then go back and watch a second time. Look at Georgia State’s bench and specifically watch their head coach. The head coach, Ron Hunter, is RJ’s father. Recovering from an achilles injury suffered while celebrating his teams conference championship the week before, Hunter is coaching from a rolling stool and when his son hits this game winning shot, Hunter falls from the stool in celebration.
Now, try to argue that this tournament isn’t beautiful.
Perfect? No chance. Great basketball? Not always. But, beautiful? Every single year.
Looking at the actual tournament itself, there are a few favorites, namely Michigan State, Virginia, Duke, North Carolina and Villanova. However, most of the field hasn’t been selected. Only a few conferences across the country have held their conference tournaments and thus only a few teams have earned the automatic bids to the tournament. The rest of the field will be selected March 11th. The play-in games are on the 13th and 14th to decide the final four teams to make it into the tournament. Then once the 15th rolls around, the Madness starts.
Upsets will happen, favourites will advance, there will be buzzer beaters, and there will definitely be heartbreak. I, for one, will be locking myself in my living room those first few days of the tournament to watch nothing but basketball for about 96 hours to try and take all of it in.
Let the Madness begin.