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March Madness leaves fans of basketball anticipating the winner of the national championship

A crowd gathers around a Kansas Jayhawks open practice as they prepare for the tournament.

A crowd gathers around a Kansas Jayhawks open practice as they prepare for the tournament.

James Owens, Online Sports Editor

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March Madness dates back to 1939 when the National Association of Basketball Coaches conceived the idea. The tournament gets its name because it is played mostly in the month of March, the tournament has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the country.

The tournament consists of 68 teams and 7 total rounds. The 32 teams that win their respective conference tournaments are guaranteed a spot while a committee pick the remaining 36 spots. There are four brackets with teams ranked 1 through 16. The 16 seed plays the one seed, the two plays the 15 and so on.  

The first round includes eight teams playing in four games playing for a spot in the round of 64. After that every team plays in single elimination games cutting the field in half after each round until there are two teams left to play for the championship.  

The tournament has been dominated by a few teams although has become much more competitive the past few years with eight different teams winning in the past 10 years. Some teams in particular have had the most success, UCLA being one of these teams having won 11 championships, the most of any team. Some local teams have also had success especially the Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tar Heels with each holding five and six championships respectively.

The tournament however is not only for enjoyment of fans; it is also a booming business. Last year the tournament generated 10 billion dollars and projected to produce even more this year according to Forbes. The tournament has also become a hub for sports betting, with over 10 billion dollars being wagered on the 2018 tournament although a mere 3% or 300 million was betted legally.

The event is already huge, but locally it can be even bigger with two tobacco road rivals having a bid at getting in this year. Two of these teams are Duke and UNC who are both local and are rivals. Duke and UNC have had excellent seasons with UNC finishing the season at number three nationally while Duke finished at number five. UNC and Duke have also had more success in the tournament, with both of them having won two titles since 2009. The tournament still has fans of all teams excited.

“It’s always my favorite time of the season even if my team doesn’t do good or win,” said Olivia Cassidy, sophomore.  

Competitions aside, the tournament brings together fans from all across the country in what has become a ritual in the world of NCAA men’s basketball. These games bring people to root for teams far from their own with almost everyone filling out brackets for friendly competitions or for gambling.Whether it be fans rooting for the longshots like Loyola of Chicago who reached the final four last year as an 11 seed or the favorites like Duke University.

“The tournament is more than a competition for the players, it is nerve racking for all of us with brackets or our favorite teams,” said Jai Anderson, sophomore.     

 

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