March Madness: The Excitement at Ward Melville and Beyond

Priya Mukhi, Features Editor

The best time of the year has arrived for college basketball fans– March Madness.

Photo courtesy of NCAA.

March Madness, formally known as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, is a single-elimination tournament played annually among 68 of the 350 Division I college basketball teams in the United States. The tournament first began in 1939 and has been televised since 1969, becoming one of the most popular sporting events in the United States behind the Super Bowl.

Throughout the month of March, college basketball teams compete against one another to move up to the next round of the tournament. There are seven rounds of this exciting competition, and the real fun for fans begins after the first three rounds, at the “Sweet Sixteen”. After the Sweet Sixteen comes the Elite Eight, Final Four, and finally, the most exciting round, the National Championship between the two teams that have made it to the top. UCLA is known to have won the most titles in March Madness history. Last year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill team took home the grand title.

Millions of avid sports fans annually join in on the fun of March Madness by creating “brackets” in which they predict the outcome of each game. According to Forbes, the odds of achieving a perfect bracket are quite slim, precisely 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9.2 quintillion).

Many Ward Melville students became greatly involved in the excitement of March Madness. On the final day of bracket submission, clumps of students could be seen in the lunchroom and library finalizing their predictions. March Madness creates an atmosphere of friendly competition among peers. This competitive spirit was definitely evident at Ward Melville High School– the best example if this being the ‘class brackets’ that were created. Megan Specht, a junior who participated in a bracket for her AP Physics class, describes the process: “[This year,] we had eight people from the class all make individual brackets. Then, each Thursday through Sunday when the March Madness basketball games are played, everyone checks their brackets to see if they picked the right team to win that game. The more games you guess the winner correctly the higher your rank in the pool. I did it with over 20 people in my engineering class last year so I thought it would be fun to do it again!” The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at Ward Melville also took part in the fun of March Madness to promote its wonderful cause, by creating a bracket in which each student contributed $10. Half of all the money collected goes to the Society, while the other half goes to the winner of the contest.

This weekend, the Final Four will take place. There will be a game between the Loyola Ramblers and Michigan Wolverines, and another game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Villanova Wildcats. The winners of these respective games will face off in the National Championship.