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Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

March Madness; Why So Popular?

March+Madness%3B+Why+So+Popular%3F
Dominic Plata

It’s time for another year of March Madness! Selection Sunday took place on March 17, and the first games tipped off the tournament on March 19. Spanning from mid-March to early April, the single-elimination tournament features 68 teams that compete in seven rounds for the national championship. March Madness is very popular across the nation, with as many as 100 million brackets filled out yearly. In addition to filling out brackets, people love the tournament for a variety of reasons: the games are always expected to be full of competition, the unpredictability makes each round interesting to watch, and there are guaranteed to be upsets. Kamron Brown, senior, has been keeping up with the many big moments from this tournament.

“I enjoy trying to get a perfect bracket and seeing upsets. March madness is exciting because the players aren’t as good as the NBA so they have to run more plays, find a way to create space, and work hard to get in the draft,” said Brown.

The first NCAA men’s basketball tournament was in 1939, when it included just 8 teams. Today, there are 68 teams that compete in the tournament, with eight teams participating in play-in games to make the official first round of 64 teams. As the size of the tournament has grown, so has its popularity. This year, the tournament is averaging 9.4 million viewers, which is an increase from last year. Monday’s matchup between Iowa and LSU averaged 12.3 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most watched college basketball game ever in ESPN. March Madness draws lots of attention to college basketball each year and gets people interested in a sport they may not normally watch. Anthony Wiggins, sophomore, is looking forward to the upcoming games because they are drawing lots of attention and will feature top skill.

“I enjoy the competition and rivalry between the teams. When the teams enter the final four bracket, it’s more exciting since it’s for the championship,” said Wiggins.

For most people, the tournament is simply exciting to watch. The unpredictability keeps viewers entertained, However, for others, the tournament means more to them than this. For high school basketball players planning on playing in college, watching the best schools in the nation compete for the championship is something they hope to be a part of one day. It’s not only a huge opportunity that can put anyone from any school on the map, it features the best players in the country, and all eyes are on the players as one loss leads to elimination from the tournament. Brown’s favorite moment of the tournament was watching Iowa’s Caitlin Clark score 41 points, including 9 three-pointers, against LSU. Her star performance gained lots of attention, demonstrating how the popularity of March Madness sets college players up for success.

All in all, March Madness brings people together. People compete their brackets against family and friends, they root for their favorite team to claim the championship, and they hope to beat the 1 in 9.2 quintillion odds of achieving that perfect bracket. Brian Blackburn, Assistant Basketball Coach, looks forward to March Madness so he can compete with his family and friends for the title of Best Bracket. However, like others, he has learned to accept the unpredictability of the games and how this affects his bracket.

“I picked UConn. They are playing really well right now. I only fill out one bracket and maybe check it two or three times. I know my bracket is busted after the first weekend. The major upsets happen on the first weekend,” said Blackburn.

This Saturday, number 11 NC State will play number 1 Purdue, and number 1 UConn will play number 4 Alabama in the Men’s Final Four. The winners will face off against one another on Monday, April 8. UConn has the best odds of winning this year’s championship and is looking to defend its title, but the tournament is not known for its predictability. In the Women’s tournament, number 3 NC State will play number 1 South Carolina, and number 3 UConn will play number 1 Iowa on Friday, with the winners playing on Sunday.

About the Contributors
Megan Riddle
Megan Riddle, ENN Staff
Dominic Plata
Dominic Plata, President & Editor in Chief - Yearbook