According to Mike Krzyzewski, the Duke head basketball coach and five-time national champion, “Cutting down the nets in the final game of March Madness is ultimate goal for any team or coach.” In the eyes of any sports fan, the annual college basketball tournament, more commonly known as “March Madness” is the highlight of the basketball season. In this single-elimination, competitive tournament, division-one basketball teams compete in a month-long competition. In the end, only one team is dubbed national champions and is able to carry out the tradition of cutting down the nets of the hoops, which is symbolic for their hard-earned victory. In addition to the ultra-competitive games that occur on the court, many basketball fans take part in the tournament by filling out a bracket and predicting the outcome of each game. With a total of sixty-four teams in the tournament, constructing a perfect bracket is unlikely. Nevertheless, the “March Madness” basketball tournament is enjoyable for both the collegiate basketball players and fans alike.
Despite the difficulty of winning the national championship, making it to the tournament is an accomplishment in itself for many teams. In the many weeks leading up the tournament, teams from each conference or league compete against each other in a much smaller tournament, which ultimately determines their seeding for the actual games in March. Teams that are ranked the top seed for their division typically play a team from a lesser conference or lower seed in the earlier rounds; however, each year, an upset always occurs that unfortunately eliminates some of the top-tier teams in the tournament. Sports Blog Nation, a leading reporter of “March Madness” news, concluded that teams ranked thirteenth have upset teams ranked in the top three every year since 2007. This alarming statistic reinforces the likelihood of an upset in the tournament, as well as deters bracket participants from choosing top-ranked teams in the early games. As each round progresses, the competition for each team becomes stiffer, which leaves the top-performing groups in the tournament still standing. In the process, viewers are exposed to some of the greatest matchups between teams, which are not typically seen in the regular season. In addition, the “March Madness” basketball tournament always reveals some of the greatest college players of that specific year, some of which will declare for the NBA draft the following year. With its unforeseeable outcomes and overall excitement, the “March Madness” tournament has orchestrated into an annual event that college basketball players await each year.
Not only do the college basketball players experience the joy and thrill of the tournament, but many basketball fans become actively involved in the competition as well. In the past decade, completing brackets has grown dramatically in popularity amongst children and adults. By utilizing the “March Madness” websites and predicting the outcome of every game scheduled, basketball fans compete against friends and family for a higher ratio of games predicted. According to Fox Sports, the odds of completing a perfect bracket in the tournament is one in nine quintillion. Although it is nearly impossible to predict each game correctly, people enjoy both the frustration and excitement that each game brings. Additionally, many “March Madness” analysts offer insight on reliable, high-value teams in the tournament. In the Washington Post article, “Alternative Bracket Facts“, Neil Greenberg mentions that “Since 2011, the first year the tournament expanded to a 68-team field, ‘legendary’ coaches, those with more than 10 trips to the big dance and more than four runs to the Sweet 16 in their career, win the most games (0.489 per coach, per year) over expectations. Rookie coaches are the second best-performing group relative to expectations.” The trends and statistics presented by sports analysts, supplement the superstition and competitiveness that are present during “March Madness”. It is quite obvious that basketball tournament has grown in popularity in the past years due to the exhilaration and emotion that the bracket challenge brings.
Equally important to the basketball games and the various ways people participate in them, is the economic impact the “March Madness” tournament has on the United States. According to Wallet Hub, a leading insider on the sports-business world, corporations and businesses lose approximately four billion dollars during the time of “March Madness” due to the diverted attentions of unproductive workers. In addition to that astounding number, 9.2 billion dollars is wagered during the course of the tournament, 8.9 billion of which is illegally gambled. The monumental amount of money that is both lost and gained during the month of March has had huge impacts on the economy. Each year, the popularity of the tournament continues to increase and thus, the amount of money lost and illegally gambled also reaches historic heights. Furthermore, the revenue generated by major corporations through television networks broadcasting the tournament also continues to grow. Wallet Hub highlights that the 2015 tournament generated over one billion dollars in revenue from advertisements. General Motors was one of the many companies that spent nearly ninety million dollars on commercials. Clearly, money continues to play a huge factor as the tournament grows in popularity.
As the 2017 “March Madness” tournament comes to the end, it is worth mentioning the enjoyment that it brings to both the universities and fans of college basketball. This year, the outcomes of many of the games have been a shock to the basketball world, leaving many once hopeful individuals upset over their bracket. However, the frustration and excitement that one feels is a major part in the “March Madness” experience. Also, the money and generated revenue played a huge factor in this year’s tournament. As Mike Krzyzewski mentioned before, “cutting down the nets” and winning the national championship is the goal for any team in the tournament. Unfortunately, not all teams can come out as the victor of this tournament.