March Madness: What you need to know


Nick Sande

Magnet is hosting the 4th annual March Madness bracket contest

The month of March is finally here.  With it brings one of the biggest sports tournaments of the year.  The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness, will run from Thursday, Mar. 16 through Monday, Apr. 3.

The official NCAA bracket is released a few days before the play-in games begin, otherwise known as the First Four.  The official bracket release is always set for the Sunday night before the week of the tournament.  The date this year is Sunday, Mar. 12, otherwise known as “Selection Sunday”.  Teams, schools and fans across the country hold their patience until that night to find out if their spot is set in the tournament.

Many teams are already aware of their spot in the tournament as they are an automatic lock, but still wait to find out their seed and matchup.  An example of an already locked in team would be the winner of their conference tournament.  Many of the Power Five Conference schools such as the BIG 10 or ACC send multiple teams who have earned their spot from regular season play.  Another example would be a majority, if not all, of the Top 25 rated teams in the country are a lock in.  Smaller conferences may only be able to send one team to the tournament, which would be the team who has won their conference tournament. These teams add to the hype of March Madness, as they are usually underdogs who could make a deep run, otherwise known as “Cinderella’s”.  They usually are in the First Four games or may be a higher seed depending on how good they are. The teams that cause the most trouble for experts and analysts predicting them in or out are the bubble teams. These are the teams that hope their name gets called on Selection Sunday, as there is no guarantee they are in.  These may be Power Five schools, but might be right outside of the Top 25 and may have upset a team in the regular season or earned their way into the tourney from their strength of schedule.  It is up for the selection committee to decide. There are usually eight to 10 teams hovering in the bubble and many experts pick their Last Four in and Last Four out.

It’s the best sporting event out there. You never know what’s going to happen and it lasts a whole month.

— March Madness Enthusiast Ethan Dekam

After the brackets have been released, the hype keeps building up for the week ahead.  A majority of America fills out their coveted bracket.  Bracket contests are held in every form from online sites, to friendly contests and office pools. Everyone carefully and strategically fills out their bracket hoping to be the winner and finish with a perfect bracket.  Everyone hopes their prediction of upsets, Cinderella stories and favorites to make it to the Final Four will fall into place.  Even though some have come remotely close, the chances of filling out a perfect bracket is little to none.  Former President of the United States Barack Obama, a huge basketball fan, filled out his big board every year to make his predictions.  The method to this madness can be dubbed Bracketology and millions of Americans are slowly turning it into a National Pastime.

Many people breeze over the First Four and anxiously wait for the First Round to begin.  Everyone is watching from kids in school, to adults at work.  March Madness takes over television for a month with numerous ads and games spread out over multiple networks. The tournament goes as follows; The First Round of 64 teams turns into the Second Round of 32. The 16 teams who have survived after the Second Round get a short break before getting back into action in the third round, or the Sweet Sixteen.  Following that, the Elite Eight then the Final Four.  The championship game is set for Monday, Apr. 3, in Phoenix, AZ.  Local U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN will host the 2019 Final Four. This March will surely be nothing short of crazy for basketball fans, as it always is.

Who doesn’t want to win a lime green t-shirt?

— Past Magnet Contest Winner Mr. Tornell

OHS Magnet will be running their bracket contest as well. Students and staff can pick up a form in the commons during lunches on Monday, Mar. 13 through Wednesday, Mar. 15 and brackets will be due at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Mar. 16.  One bracket per student or staff can be submitted.  Court Sports has donated  T-shirts to be  will awarded to the top three in points at the end of the tournament. See the Magnet March Madness Contest Rules article for full details.