The craze behind March Madness

AP Photo/Nati Harnik
March madness creates viewership largely because of the hype behind bracket creation. An Ohio man made history with a March Madness bracket that was perfect through 49 games on the’s “Bracket Challenge,” according to the NCAA. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Postseason play for NCAA Division I men’s basketball is known by its historic name, March Madness.

The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament has been held every year since it first started in 1939. Sixty-eight teams compete in the single-elimination tournament to advance through seven rounds for a chance at the national championship.

“The NCAA tournament provides great matchups and great games. It is the nature of most college sports that anyone can win a given match,” BYUtv Sports Producer Travis Cameron said. “This makes watching college sports that much more enjoyable. Making a bracket provides a way for people to be connected to the tournament and become more than just spectators.”

March Madness is filled with upsets, underdogs and buzzer-beaters. The single-elimination factor pressures the teams to win to continue their season. There are many aspects of March Madness that cause hype within the fan base.

“I love seeing small schools get a chance to compete on the big stage. It’s really cool to see who will be the Cinderella team each year. I love watching upsets,” said BYU junior Joe Gray.

Loyola Chicago was the Cinderella story in the 2018 NCAA tournament. The team upset No. 6 seed Miami with a buzzer-beater to advance to the second round. The No. 11 seeded Ramblers advanced to the Elite 8 before finally being eliminated by Michigan, which competed in the national championship game.

The tournament contains intensity purely because of the single-elimination factor. One loss and a team’s season is over. This season-ending mentality motivates players to perform to the best of their ability every second of every game.

There is a high level of unpredictability in the tournament. Upsets can completely ruin a bracket and keep the fans on their toes. No one has ever made a perfect bracket, and that is partly why there is so much excitement that comes with it. There is always a challenge to make a flawless bracket every year.

“I think it’s so popular because you invest in a bracket you’ve made and that causes you to be more interested to watch the games,” said BYU junior Daniel Zamarripa.

There are all kinds of fans when it comes to March Madness. Some have been making brackets for years and others have just started. Since the beginning of bracket making, supposedly in a Staten Island Bar in 1977, no one has ever had a perfect bracket. This year, an Ohio man predicted the first 49 games correctly, breaking the previous record of 39. His bracket remained perfect until the Sweet 16 when Purdue beat Tennessee in overtime.

Still, this is 14 games short of a perfect bracket, not including the first-four in games. Predicting a perfect bracket is as likely as correctly choosing the outcome of a coin flip 63 times in a row. In essence, it equates to having a 1 in 9.2 quintillion odds of having a perfect bracket.

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