By Lauren Sprague
When some people think of March, they think of the last few weeks of winter and a transition into spring. When others think of March, they think of the madness that will ensue, March Madness, that is. The division one men’s college basketball tournament takes the country by storm and has people filling out millions of brackets in the pursuit of winning money or just for their own entertainment. The odds of having predicted a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. The chances of winning are very slim, so why would people even bother filling out a bracket if they know they won’t win? Why do so many people tune into this college basketball tournament despite not having followed the sport leading up to the tournament?
Money can be a major motivator in filling out a bracket. Josh Hixon, a junior, said, “I think there’s a lot of money on the line if you have a perfect bracket.” The potential to win money is one reason why Hixon believes March Madness has achieved its level of popularity. Nick Boomsma agrees saying that what is most exciting for people about the tournament is, “winning money at the end of it if you do well.” However, there are many contests online that allow people to win money even if they do not have a flawless bracket, so money is not the only motivator behind filling out a bracket. “It’s also just fun to compete against your friends,” Boomsma added.
Many people do compete against their friends and families, which makes the tournament engaging in another way. It’s not only a competition for money, but also a competition with friends. The ESPN Tournament Challenge App is one way to connect with people, as you can fill out a bracket and form groups. In these groups, the app will award you points depending on the accuracy of your bracket and rank you and your group members.This tournament can bring people together for friendly competition.
The thrilling games are another big factor of what draws numerous college basketball fans out of the woodwork during this time of year. Blake Glass, a senior, says he enjoys March Madness because he likes “watching good basketball.” “People just really like to get behind the sport cause it’s fun to watch and there’s always teams that will win that you don’t think will win,” Glass said. March Madness is known for its upsets where a lower ranked team beats a higher ranked team, thus making some fans exhilarated and some fans very distraught. Duke, a number one seed, lost in the elite eight to Michigan State. This was a major upset as 39.2% of brackets had selected Duke to win it all. Michigan State and Texas Tech faced off on Saturday in the final four along with Virginia and Auburn. The winners of those games, Texas Tech and Virginia will battle for a chance a national championship title on Monday, April 8th. Hopefully, this game will be as captivating as some of the other games this year. “I love those close games. I don’t care what team is playing, it’s always fun and pretty dramatic, too, so I love it,” Hixon said. It all boils down to the thrill of the games, the competition amongst friends and family, and the potential to win money that has NCAA basketball fans coming back for more each March.