The NCAA Basketball Tournament: March Madness

Article By: Woosuk Kim

Amongst the many sporting events happening in the world right now, arguably one of the most popular and followed at ISM is the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament, commonly known as March Madness, began on March 13 and will conclude on April 2 in San Antonio, Texas. As described by sophomore basketball player Adi B., “March Madness is the big tournament played every March where the top 68 teams in college basketball come together play a single elimination tournament to see which college is the best. As a result of this, every year millions of people create their own ‘bracket’ where they go through every single game and pick who they think will win. People then create groups and can bet money or just play for bragging rights. As the tournament plays out, the people picking will know whether they picked correctly or incorrectly.”

When asked what made March Madness gather such a huge following here at ISM, Adi replied, “One of the biggest reasons it is so highly anticipated is because of the single elimination format. Unlike other sports (such as the NBA) where they adopt a series format (best of 7 or 5 game series), the NCAA uses a single elimination format. What this means is that there is only one game played between the two teams and as a result, anything can happen. For instance, this year was the first year where a #16 seeded team upset and beat a #1 ranked team with UMBC beating UVA. This leads into the second reason why it’s so exciting and that’s because of the brackets.

Every year there are some teams that win against all odds and essentially ‘bust the brackets’ of many people. Taking the UMBC vs UVA game as an example, over 4 million people had UVA as their champion, in the final or in the semi finals and with them going out, so many people’s brackets were hurt badly.

The final reason as to why it’s so exciting is the prospect of getting a perfect bracket: when someone is able to predict the winner of every single game. The odds of that happening are around 1 in 9.2 quintillion. By having this small chance possible every year, it gives people reason to create as many brackets as possible and try and get a perfect one. I would recommend members of the Bearcat community to follow it as it is a fun thing to keep track of and doesn’t necessarily take too much of one’s time as it only takes like 2 minutes to fill a bracket. It’s also something you can do with your friends for either money or just bragging rights.”

Mr. Swan, coach of the boys junior varsity basketball team, agrees with Adi, stating that the reason why March Madness is so highly anticipated is because “there are always upsets and “Cinderella” teams that make it deep into the tournament.” Not only that but since basketball is “the most popular sport in the Philippines, and arguably in the US,” the NCAA is an exciting opportunity for all basketball fans.

Although the ISM students support a variety of teams in the NCAA, Adi mentions how the fan favourites are most likely going to be the Duke Blue Devils or the Villanova Wildcats. Adi states, “This is due to the fact that both teams are popular choices to win the tournament as both have historic basketball programs and are typically ranked either 1 or 2 every year with Duke being ranked #2 in the Midwest and Villanova being ranked #1 in the East.” However, Adi later added, “In the end, there are so many great teams and with the single elimination format, it’s almost impossible to pick the right winner.”

With students such as Adi demonstrating their passion for basketball and other sports through these online opportunities, it is evident that ISM has a very active athletics community.