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Beware the ides of March

The calm before the storm./ Jeff Turner
The calm before the storm./ Jeff Turner

Art thou experiencing symptoms of this madness of March?

It’s that time of the year again, my friends. The time when everyone breaks out their brackets, and furiously scribbles in their winners, thinking they have a hope in Hell of getting even half of their selections right. It’s March Madness time!

So, what do you good people have to know about this upcoming tournament? That’s what I’m aiming to answer for you unwashed masses, and to maybe give a couple selections here or there along the way. With that being said, it’s time for some Bracketology (a word that ESPN made up to explain the “science” behind how the bracket is put together).

The first question is always, “Who’s going to be the Cinderella team of this year’s tournament?” This question is always next to impossible to answer, as in years past, teams like George Mason, Butler, Florida Gulf Coast and other irrelevant schools have managed to make the biggest splashes in the tournament. However, if I had to make a couple selections, watch out for the likes of Stephen F. Austin (#12), UCLA (#11) and Northeastern (#14).

Next comes the favourites to win, also known as the teams that your uninformed friends are guaranteed to pick into the Final Four, because they are the only teams they’ve heard of. Kentucky is looking to have a perfect season, after going 31-0, and got the #1 seed in the tournament. They’re the overwhelming favourites to win, so expect them to be knocked out in the Sweet Sixteen by a team like Valparaiso. Another team to watch for is the Gonzaga Bulldogs, otherwise known as the team with all the Canadians. Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer and Dustin Triano all hail from Canada, and are looking to make their mark on the tournament, before they potentially head to the NBA as the next wave of Canadian stars. You will probably hear the Canadian sports channels talk non-stop about these guys.

As for what to watch for in general, expect all the upsets. There’s nothing like an upset story in college sports, and basketball in general. It’s fine cheering for your favourite team, but generally, I will always cheer for the upset. I cannot be too upset when my team is knocked off by a #11 seed, because the game and atmosphere is just too much fun.

College basketball is great because there is just so much energy and passion put into the game by the players, coaches, and fans. It’s something that you just don’t see in the NBA. This tournament means everything to these players, as for most of them, it’s their last chance to play basketball at this high of a level. So, it’s no surprise when you see them going all out and showing emotion after a devastating loss, or incredible win.

Personally, I’m going to be glued to my couch this Thursday and Friday, and watch as much as I possibly can. March Madness is the greatest tournament in the world, and this year looks like it’s going to be as good or better than all the previous incarnations. My pick to win it all is Gonzaga, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter to me so long as we get a great set of games.

So sit back, grab your favourite snacks, and enjoy the show, people. It’s going to be a wild ride for the next three weeks as we lead up to the National Championship game.

About John Loeppky

I am an MFA candidate, writer, editor, and administrative firefighter.