Jessica Duff: Why All the (March) Madness?

Every year. Every March. For three weeks, we’re glued to TVs. Why you ask? March Madness of course!

Madness really is a great way to describe the insanity and the obsession we as Americans have when it comes to postseason basketball. Fans are glued to their TVs, computers, and smart phones to see how the brackets stack up.

Who’s in? Who’s out? It’s what everyone talks about for days before the games officially tip off. (How many of us really pay that much attention to the play-in games early in the week?)

But really, the madness seems to start a few weeks leading up to the postseason. How many times did we seen Joe Lunardi’s “Last Four In” and “Last Four Out” change in the weeks leading up to Selection Sunday? Heck, even Saturday and Sunday morning those selections were changing. The anticipation of who we’ll see play in the postseason is almost as exciting of the tournament itself.

If you’re a fan of any SEC team, you probably kept a very close eye on the NCAA selection process. Depending on what teams made the field of 68 affected how many SEC teams were going to make to the NIT. And, yes, this year, more of us SEC fans have teams to root for in that tournament than the Big Dance. Oh well, it’s just more basketball to watch.

Whether your team makes it to the NCAA Tournament or not, something about the matchups draw us in.

A recent video post by ESPN’s Michael Smith of Numbers Never Lie highlighted some of the reasons behind why these matchups are so intriguing.

For instance, a 12 seed has beaten a five seed in 24 out of the last 27 NCAA Tournaments. As for 11 seeds, they have won about a third of their opening-round games. Even better odds, the 10 seeds have won 40% of their opening round games.

Here’s a stat that stood out to me: only once in the last 15 years have all the two seeds made into the Sweet 16. And speaking of the Sweet 16, two teams seeded 10 or lower have made it to this round in 14 of the last 16 years.

Sure the #1 seeds have the best chance of making it to the final four. But, did you know only ONCE in the history of the tournament have all four number one seeds been in the final four? The winner has been a top four seed every year since 1989. Getting the elusive number one seed has proven to be a good thing over the years. A one seed has won the NCAA Tournament in 15 of the last 22 years.

I’m sure by now you’re thinking, “these statistics are nice, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen every year.”


The fact that there are 50 games (yes, this counts those play-in games) to watch in a span of seven days is something to cheer about. You’ll have a nail-biter in more than half of those games, blow outs in a few of them, upsets in others. The range of emotions one can experience while watching these games makes it all worth it.

People call in sick to work or use vacation days to sit at home and catch as many of these games as possible. Many of us have mastered ways to get around watching games on our computers while at work.

And we risk it all for the madness.

How do you cope with the madness? Let us know in the comment section below.

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