“The Madness is Here!” by Connor Stillwell

March 21, 2019. 

The best part of the sports season is finally here, March Madness. Whatever you want to call it, the NCAA tournament, the big dance, or most popularly known, March Madness, it is the most exciting and heart breaking sports event of the year. The bracket was selected on Sunday, March 17th or also known as Selection Sunday; on this day teams learn their fate on where they stand among other teams and if they are done well enough throughout the year to actually make the tournament. Every year it starts in late to middle March and lasts until the beginning of April. 68 teams qualify for it every year including all 32 conference champions and the remaining are at large bids. The favorite to win it all is the Duke Blue Devils who have the top three prospects in the country from the 2018 recruiting class and have three projected top five prospects for the 2019 NBA draft including breakout star Zion Williamson. All games are played on the channels of CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.  

People of all college basketball experience can pick their own March Madness bracket and who they think is going to cut down the nets. There has never been a perfect bracket picked with the chances very slim. The farthest someone has ever picked has until halfway through the second round. There are many apps or websites where people can pick these games and bracket including: ESPN Tournament Challenge, the March Madness app, and the CBS Sports app. It is very exciting to watch how your bracket unfolds with most of the time it not looking so well. You can compete against your friends and family to see who can pick the best bracket. 

The first part of the tournament is the First Four. These are four play in games usually the four worst teams with at large bids and the four worst conference champions. Two of the games are always played on Tuesday and the other two the day after. This year the first two games getting played are on Tuesday, March 19. All four games in this round are played on TruTV. The first game is 16 seed Prairie View A&M going against 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson which is being played at 6:40p.m. The second game is being played between 11 seed Temple and 11 seed Belmont at 9:10 p.m. The second day of the first four includes two more games starting with 16 seed N.C. Central and 16 seed North Dakota State University. The final game of the first four is 11 seed St. Johns and 11 seed Arizona State.  

The next round and the round that gives March Madness the madness is the first round. This round includes 32 games and there are many upsets that happen throughout this round. All 32 games being played on March 21 and March 22. The first game will be 10 seed Minnesota vs 7 seed Louisville tipping off at 12:15p.m. and the final game of the round will be played between 13 seed Saint Louis and 4 seed Virginia Tech tipping off at 9:57p.m. Some notable games are 10 seed Florida vs 7 seed Nevada, 12 seed Murray State vs 5 seed Marquette, 12 seed Oregon vs 5 seed Wisconsin, and 9 seed Baylor vs 8 seed Syracuse. These four games all have valuable implications on what teams are contenders and what teams are pretenders. There is an average of six upsets in this round every year.  

The next round, the second round contains 16 games and 32 seeds to see who can advance to the Sweet Sixteen. These games are played in a span of two days right after the first round games. All games will be between 12p.m. on Saturday, March 23 and The last game falling at 9:30 on Sunday, March 24. This round is where more games start to become competitive with no teams not above average left.  

Next comes the sweet sixteen, where there are eight games in a span of two days. At this point, teams start to realize how close they are to winning the National Championship. These games are played on Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29. 

After the Sweet Sixteen comes the Elite Eight where only the best of the best advance to. These four games are played on Saturday, March 30 and Sunday, March 31.  

The part of the tournament that all teams shoot for the entire season, the Final Four. This is the biggest part of the tournament with only the top tier programs making it to this big of a stage. The final four is the most popular and awaited for part of the tournament for the fans. The final four is always in a big city in a big city so many fans can come and enjoy the event. It is always played on a Saturday before the national championship with this year it being played on Saturday, April 6. The winner of this game will make the NCAA National Championship. 

Lastly, the National Championship, the last game of the college basketball season where the best two teams collide to play in the biggest game of most of these player’s careers. This year this game is being played on Monday, April 8. Last year the championship featured the Villanova Wildcats and the Michigan Wolverines with Villanova eventually ending up on top after a hard two-hour effort by both teams. This year the teams projected to make the National Championship are the Duke Blue Devils and the Virginia Cavaliers, but we’ll just have to wait and see who actually makes it to this game. 

This tournament format was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The tournament first started with only eight teams getting in and gradually increasing to the 68 it is at today. The team with the most National Championships is the UCLA Bruins who was led by legendary coach John Wooden leading them to ten of eleven of those titles. Villanova won the championship last year after beating Michigan in the championship. The date of where the Final Four and the National Championship is played varies throughout years and is always in a big city with a big stadium. 

Every year the seeding is announced on Selection Sunday, the Sunday before the tournament. It is the day that causes some coaches that teams are on the bubble to lose sleep the night before waiting their fate for the postseason. They don’t know if they’re going to be in the big dance or the N.I.T., which stands for New York Invitational Tournament but most people know it as not in tournament. This year the show was aired on CBS and was an hour long giving us a look of all the games and what the bracket will look like. After it, there are shows that talk about the tournament more in depth and what to expect from it. 

A Cinderella is a team that surprises everybody and makes a long run in the tournament. Usually a double digit seed that make it to at least the Sweet Sixteen. Some recent Cinderella teams have been: VCU in 2008, as an 11 seed they made the final four, Loyola Chicago in 2018, as an 11 seed they made the final four almost beating Michigan to make the National Championship, George Mason in 2006, as an 11 seed they made the final four, and lastly, FGCU in 2013, as a 15 seed, they made the Sweet Sixteen. 

In conclusion, March Madness is a great time for all sports fans giving then nail-biting event to look forward to. It gives all 68 teams in the tournament an equal chance to win it all and cut down the nets; a dream for all fans, players, and coaches. Possibly the most excited part of the year, March Madness is the best event to look forward too as you don’t know what to expect from any team. 


Complete March Madness Schedule: 

First Four, Tuesday, March 19 

Prairie View vs. Farleigh Dickinson6:30 pmtruTVDayton, OH 

Temple vs. Belmont 9:00 pmTruTVDayton, OH 

First Four, Wednesday, March 20 

NC Central vs. North Dakota State6:30 pmtruTVDayton, OH 

St. John’s vs. Arizona State9:00 pmtruTVDayton, OH 

First round, Thursday, March 21 

Minnesota vs. Louisville12:00 pmCBSDes Moines, IA 

Yale vs. LSUMarch Madness Live12:30 pmtruTVJacksonville, FL 

New Mexico St. vs. Auburn1:20 pmTNTSalt Lake City, UT 

Vermont vs. Florida St.1:50 pmTBSHartford, CT 

Bradley vs. Michigan St.2:30 pmCBSDes Moines, IA 

Belmont/Temple vs. Maryland3:00 pmtruTVJacksonville, FL 

Northeastern vs. Kansas3:50 pmTNTSalt Lake City, UT 

Murray St. vs. Marquette4:20 pmTBSHartford, CT 

Florida vs. Nevada6:45 pmTNTDes Moines, IA 

Abilene Christian vs. Kentucky7:00 pmCBSJacksonville, FL 

Saint Mary’s vs. Villanova7:15 pmTBSHartford, CT 

Farleigh Dickinson/ Prairie View vs. Gonzaga7:15 pmtruTVSalt Lake City, UT 

Montana vs. Michigan9:15 pmTNTDes Moines, IA 

Seton Hall vs. Wofford9:30 pmCBSJacksonville, FL 

Old Dominion vs. Purdue9:45 pmTBSHartford, CT 

Baylor vs. Syracuse9:55 pmtruTVSalt Lake City, UT 

First round, Friday, March 22 

Iowa vs. Cincinnati12:00 pmCBSColumbus, OH 

Oklahoma vs. Mississippi12:30 pmtruTVColumbia, SC 

Northern Kentucky vs. Texas Tech1:30 pmTNTTulsa, OK 

UC Irvine vs. Kansas St.1:50 pm TBSSan Jose, CA 

Colgate vs. Tennessee2:30 pmCBSColumbus, OH 

Gardner-Webb vs. Virginia3:00 pmtruTVColumbia, SC 

Arizona St./St. John’s vs. Buffalo3:50 pmTNTTulsa, OK 

Oregon vs. Wisconsin4:20 pmTBSSan Jose, CA 

Washington vs. Utah St.6:45 pmTNTColumbus, OH 

NC Central/ North Dakota St. vs. Duke7:00 pmCBSColumbia, SC 

Georgia St. vs. Houston7:15 pmTBSTulsa, OK  

Liberty vs. Mississippi St.7:15 pmtruTVSan Jose, CA 

Iona vs. North Carolina9:15 pmTNTColumbus, OH 

UCF vs. VCU9:30 pmCBSColumbia, SC 

Ohio St. vs. Iowa St.9:45 pmTBSTulsa, OK 

Saint Louis vs. Virginia Tech9:55 pmtruTVSan Jose, CA 

Second round, Saturday, March 23 

TBD12:00 pmCBS  

TBD2:30 pmCBS  

TBD5:00 pmCBS  

TBD6:00 pmTNT  

TBD7:00 pmTBS  

TBD7:30 pmCBS  

TBD8:30 pmTNT  

TBD9:30 pmTBS  

Second round, Sunday, March 24 

TBD12:00 pmCBS  

TBD2:30 pmCBS  

TBD5:00 pmCBS  

TBD6:00 pmCBS  

TBD7:00 pmTBS  

TBD7:30 pmtruTV  

TBD8:30 pmTNT  

TBD9:30 pmTBS  

March 28-31 Sweet sixteen/Elite eight 

South RegionalMarch 28/30 Louisville, KY 

West RegionalMarch 28/30 Anaheim, CA 

East RegionalMarch 29/31 Washington, D.C. 

Midwest RegionalMarch 29/31 Kansas City, MO 

Saturday, April 6 Final Four 

Final Four6:00 pmCBSMinneapolis, MN 

Final Four8:30 pmCBSMinneapolis, MN 

Monday, April 8 

National Championship9:00 pmCBSMinneapolis, MN