The Madness of March

Colin McGee ‘22

March is a month of change. The rising temperatures make many happy and energized. In the sports world, March can also be a time of madness! March is when the largest spectacle in college athletics, “March Madness,” takes place. March Madness is a single-game elimination tournament that whittles down 64 hopeful college basketball squads to one champion in the span of about two to three weeks.  

March Madness has delivered so many memorable moments throughout the years. From Christian Laettner’s game-winner in the 1992 Elite Eight to Kris Jenkins’s buzzer beater to win the national championship in 2016, March Madness is an event that appeals to both huge fans and casual fans.

The most popular practice for this event is to make a bracket. In a bracket, you attempt to predict the outcomes of all 63 games in the tournament. In reality, this is much more difficult than it sounds. Estimates on the likelihood of crafting a 100% accurate, or “perfect,” bracket range from 1 in 120.2 billion to 1 in 9.2 quintillions. Yet, millions of people fill out a bracket every year in hopes of becoming the first. 

Preceding this year’s tournament, a major storyline has been the fact that this is the final season for legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. In his 42 years as head coach, Duke has won five national championships. Duke took care of business in the first and second rounds defeating Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State.

This year’s tournament is also not devoid of star talent. This tournament has always been home to future NBA talent, and 2022 is no different. Freshmen such as Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero have been stars for their teams. Purdue guard Jaden Ivey has been turning heads as well with his play.

Through the first weekend of the tournament, the most prominent story has been the shocking play of 15 seed St. Peter’s. St. Peters became just the third 15 seed of all time to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. St. Peter’s defeated both Kentucky and Murray State to reach the second weekend of the tournament. A relatively small college in New Jersey defeating basketball powerhouses is remarkable regardless of how their season ultimately ends. 

There is not quite anything like March Madness in all of sports. The single-game elimination format makes every school, no matter how big or small, feel they have the chance to be national champions. As various examples in the past have shown us, March heroes can come from the most unexpected places. The intensity, unexpectedness, and heroics all contribute to March being nothing short of mad.