March Madness takes over

Every year, the biggest basketball tournament in the world takes over. Advertising for March Madness takes over TV commercials and social media for weeks leading up to the tournament and during the tournament. This is largely what has allowed it to become one of the most famous competitions.

The “First Four” games occur two days before the main games of the tournament start. All four games take place in Dayton, Ohio; Dayton was chosen to host these games every year because the city is within 500 miles of 60% of the United States population and is a short drive to the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. The first two rounds are then held in seven to eight different cities across the United States. The next two rounds, the “Sweet 16” and “Elite 8” are held in four cities that did not host the first two rounds: Anaheim, Louisville, Washington, D.C. and Kansas City. The “Final Four” games and the championship are then held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Going into the tournament, schools such as Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Gonzaga and Virginia were the heavy favorites to win the tournament. These five schools dominated in the regular season and went on to win their conferences. However, only one of these schools made the “Final Four.” In the “Final Four” this year was Virginia, Auburn, Michigan State and Texas Tech. In fact, Auburn and Texas Tech are in the “Final Four” for the first time in school history.

Part of what makes March Madness so popular is the bracket challenge associated with the tournament. Multiple sports websites host bracket competitions where people can compete amongst friends and the rest of the world. There are also offline competitions that friends or businesses do as well. The challenge is set up so that each game that is predicted correctly gets a certain amount of points. As the tournament continues, games are worth more points. At the end of the tournament, whoever has the most points in a group of friends, co-workers, etc. is the winner.

A big struggle with the bracket challenge is determining which upsets to predict and how many to predict. So far in the tournament, there have been 11 upsets. These 11 upsets have been very critical to most brackets, except for a bracket created by neuropsychologist Gregg Nigl. Nigl set a record this year for longest perfect bracket, which lasted through 50 out of 63 games.

The matchups for the “Final Four” were Texas Tech vs Michigan and Auburn vs Virginia. These games were played on Saturday, April 6. The winners were Virginia and Texas Tech. The championship was then played on Monday, April 8. The winner was Virginia.

Overall, March Madness 2019 was very successful and thrilling with the upsets that happened this year. Congratulations to Virginia on winning the championship, and the preparation for March Madness 2020 begins now.