Is your entire dorm filling out brackets and talking basketball? That’s because it’s March Madness time, the biggest tournament in college hoops. Even if you haven’t touched a basketball since your middle school gym class, you can still enjoy the tournament just by knowing a few basics. And even if you’re not into the game, there are a bunch of really hot players to keep you entertained.
Sixty-eight of the best NCAA Division I college men’s basketball teams from all over the country are competing. It’s a single elimination tournament, so if you lose once, it’s over. The 78th year of the tournament is scheduled to begin on March 17, 2016, and will conclude with the championship game on April 4 in Texas.
The tournament is initially divided into four regions: Midwest, West, East, and South. Each of the sixteen teams from each region are ranked from first to last based off their record from the season so far. Remember here is that a lower number means a higher rank and is called a “high seed” in order to confuse non-fans.
In the early rounds of the tournament, teams play others within their section, with higher ranked teams playing lower ranked teams (so a team ranked No. 1 plays team ranked No. 16, No. 2 plays No. 15, etc). If there’s an early upset, it changes the whole tournament around and makes people who made brackets very angry…speaking of which…
It’s technically illegal, but offices, friends, and families love to fill out these babies predicting who will advance through the rounds. Besides winning some cash and bragging rights, brackets give people a reason to really care about the tournament. Don’t feel like you have to be a super-fan to participate – the chances of creating a perfect bracket are reportedly less than 1 in 5 billion…anything can happen in this tournament, and it’s often unpredictable.
The Best Teams:
Many experts are predicting Kansas will win it all, but there are numerous teams that could make it to the final.
Other favorites include Oregon, North Carolina, and Michigan State.
Sweet Sixteen: Top 16 teams.
Elite Eight: Top eight teams.
Final Four: (Say it with me…) Top four teams.
Cinderella: A team that goes far in the tournament that wasn’t ranked well.
Big Dance: Another name for the tournament. Teams that make the tournament are known to be “going dancing.”
One and Done: Because the tournament is single-elimination, games are often referred to as “one and dones.”
Cutting Down the Net: Teams that win the championship traditionally have players/coaches cut down the nets from the baskets in the place where they win.