March Madness Begins: Fill Out Those NCAA Brackets

The Super Bowl has come and gone. The calendar reads March. And as Andy Williams puts it — it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

March brings an aura of excitement that other months fail to match. Perhaps it is because the third month of year brings springtime and ends the winter gloom.

Sure, that could be it — but not  in my world.

March means one thing: madness. Ladies and gentleman, the insanity is upon us.

Buzzer beaters, thrilling overtimes and stunning upsets cram themselves into one month. What more could any sports fan want?

March Madness thrusts college basketball into center stage and forces the National Basketball Association, the start of spring training and hockey to take a back seat.

March brings an element of unpredictability. Even though the unexpected and the unthinkable occur every March, as fans you don’t know when it is going to strike. Who would have predicted UC Irvine’s rival, the CSUN Matadors, giving the Memphis Tigers a run for their money back in 2009.

March has perfected the art of upset. Every year there is one upset that leaves sports fans with their jaws open. Last year, the Northern Iowa Panthers and Ali

Farokhmanesh stunned Kansas University, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the favorites to go home with the hardware. Not too many people saw that coming.

Cinderella dances best in the month of March. George Mason, Davidson and Butler have all worn the glass slipper and made unbelievable runs through the NCAA Tournament. As a fan you love rooting for these “mid-majors” because they are the underdog that isn’t supposed to beat Goliath. A win by a non-automatic qualifier is a win for every little guy.

But at the same time you hate these schools for that very reason. Every time a “mid-major” makes a run into the elite eight or the final four it busts your bracket.

In the NCAA Tournament, Cinderella transforms into the ugly stepsister because they oust the teams you have winning the championship.

In 2007, George Mason wasn’t supposed to win their regional. It was Connecticut, North Carolina or even Tennessee’s regional to win. In 2008, Davidson earned a nice win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but they were supposed to lose to Georgetown and Wisconsin.

March creates memories that are cemented in history. No one will ever forget Grant Hill’s pass, Christian Laettner’s shot and Duke’s win over the Kentucky Wildcats. Chris Webber will always be remembered as the guy who called timeout when Michigan did not have one.

But the madness does not start with the NCAA Tournament. Instead it starts when the calendar turns to March. The end of the college basketball season and the conference tournaments bring their own level of insanity.

Syracuse and Connecticut personified the madness when they decided to play six overtimes in the Big East Tournament two years ago.

Although the Anteaters have never made it to the Big Dance, they have given Antourage and ’Eater Nation a taste of how wild March can get.

Last year, the Anteaters needed to win the season finale against Cal Poly in order to earn a berth into the Big West Tournament.

How did they react? UC Irvine trailed by eight points with one minute left in regulation.

And that was when the insanity bug bit the ’Eaters. Darren Moore nailed two 3-pointers in the final nine seconds of regulation, the last coming with .9 seconds left. The Anteaters would go on to win in overtime and earn a spot in the Big West Tournament.

March is one of the best months to be a sports fan. The excitement and the hype created by March Madness are unparalleled.

If you have never watched college basketball, the NCAA Tournament is the perfect way to fall in love with the sport.

The last second half-court heaves that find their way into the basket and the clutch performances that stun the best of teams will leave everyone craving  more.

If you have never filled out a bracket and attempted to predict the final four teams – do it. You don’t have to know anything about sports, much less college basketball to have a successful bracket. Even the so-called experts cannot predict the wildness and every upset that takes place.

March Madness is one of the best reasons why everyone should love sports.