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The return of March Madness

March 29, 2018

 

ANDREW BELL
Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu

 

BELL

 

Ah, the annual return of March Madness is upon us. Amidst all the madness that a college student’s hectic schedule can provide, there aren’t many things better than kicking back and watching the chaotic 64-team NCAA Basketball Tournament play itself out.

 

It’s more than likely that everyone reading this has a Tournament Challenge bracket (or multiple ones) that’s already been busted. To be honest, we all know it’s virtually impossible to actually predict a perfect bracket, considering no one in the Tournament Challenge’s history has ever done so, and there are literally over nine quintillion possible outcomes for each NCAA Basketball tournament, according to mathforum.org.

 

Every March, all of the college basketball junkies download the ESPN Tournament Challenge app and fill out their specific bracket, in hopes that they are the sole winner of the grand prize of about $20,000. Whether it’s a 12-seed upsetting a 5-seed, an 11-seed upsetting a 6-seed, or, hell, even a 15-seed upsetting a 2-seed (Duke, I’m talking to you), something unforeseen happens to bust up your bracket literally every single time.

 

So with this crushing inevitability, why do we always come back to it? You could say it’s the money. That’s not a bad answer, considering the grand prize used to be a lot more than $20,000, and $20,000 itself is not a bad prize for downloading an app and filling in spaces with sports teams. But there so many gambling opportunities out there that if someone gets their kicks from risking it for the biscuit, they could go elsewhere for their thrills.

 

If you ask me, the reason people get so attached to their brackets and are so eager to fill them out every year is due to the ties that people create to these teams after they have something riding on them. Even after your bracket gets somewhat busted, there still are Tournament Challenge groups that decide their winner by the highest score, so you don’t necessarily have to have a perfect bracket to win, just the most accurate one.

 

While people attempt to beat out their friends for the best bracket, they are watching the teams they picked, hoping and praying their picks win. Through this process, you become familiar with these teams and their players.

 

This is a totally unique experience, considering that there is no other sports-related process like this.

 

While you’ve already filled out your brackets, your work isn’t done. Keep an eye on the teams you’ve selected and you might be surprised at how much you learn about them.

 

Andrew Bell is a sophomore communication major from Alexandria who serves as sports editor for The Tech Talk.

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