Now I am not talking about Prom or Homecoming or even your company’s holiday party. I am talking about March Madness! It’s considered by some (myself included) to be the greatest sporting event of the year. Sixty-four college basketball teams from around the country battle it out in a single-game elimination tournament all with the hope of being crowned the National Collegiate Athletic Association National Champions. It’s a tournament of powerhouses and Cinderella stories all competing on the Road To The Final Four (aka the last four teams) with the goal of becoming No. 1. And the fun starts today! Here’s everything you need to know.
The tournament is split into four regions: Midwest, West, East and South. Each region consists of 16 teams, ranked from No. 1 to No. 16. During the first round, the highest ranked teams play the lowest ranked teams and move toward the middle (No. 1 plays No. 16; No. 2 plays No. 15, etc.). After that, it’s anybody’s game. The teams only get one chance to move on; it’s a win or go home scenario.
This is what makes March Madness so great – every game is played like your last, because it very well could be. Even the lowest ranked team has a shot to win it all. On the court, even the underdogs can surprise you. Mostly likely that won’t happen, but everyone loves a Cinderella story!
You might be asking yourself, ‘How are the teams’ ranked determined?’ Great question. A team’s rank is based on several elements. For starters, there is a national ranking of all the teams in the country that’s whittled down to the Top 25, which is based on the following:
1. Overall record
2. Strength of schedule:
-How good were the other teams they played against over the year?
-Did they have any ‘bad’ losses? Bad loss – losing to a team ranked over 100.
3. Did the team win its conference during the regular season (Did it have more wins and fewer losses against other teams in its conference)?
4. Did the team win its conference tournament title in the post season?
-The conference title tournaments are played the week before March Madness begins. This can really help a team get into the NCAA National Championship tournament AND get a good seed.
Long story short, the more wins the team has against other high ranked teams, the higher they will be ranked nationally (if you play other good teams and beat them, you will do well). Once the regular season and conference tournaments are over, the ranks for the NCAA Tournament are released.
The next step you should take to really enjoy March Madness is to download a bracket and fill it out. Try to get into a work or family pool; it’s a lot of fun and you don’t really need to know anything about the teams. For example, in 2008, my friend joined her work pool for $50. This was a huge pool with a lot of guys who entered. She proceeded to choose winning teams based on schools she’d visited to see friends and cool uniforms. She made it down to the final game and called me to ask, ‘Who is going to win?’ Since I went to the University of Kansas (and we were ranked No. 1), I told her, ‘The Jayhawks! Put them to win it all!’ Well, she did win, and she won BIG! $5,000!
Like I said, everyone loves a Cinderella story.
For more information on the teams or to fill out a bracket, please visit NCAA.com.
Guest contributor and JustFab Senior Campaign Manager Tim Gaughan wrote this post. Tim is a KU alumnus and a proclaimed Jayhawk for life.