As the weather warms up and you open your windows to let in a little bit of fresh air, don’t be fooled. That scent wafting into your living room isn’t spring; it’s March Madness, and it’s about to consume the sports fans in your household.
A phenomenon that began in Illinois, March Madness lasts until the first week of April. During that time, Men’s and Women’s NCAA basketball teams will compete for the national championship title. College teams are divided into three divisions: I, II, and III with Division I teams being the most competitive and therefore, the most watched teams in the nation. Currently, the NCAA ranks the top ten college men’s basketball teams as follows:
1. Florida, 46: Record 27-2
2. Wichita State, 14: Record 31-0
3. Arizona, 5: Record 27-2
4. Duke, Record 26-6
5. Virginia, Record 25-5
6. Villanova, Record 26-3
7. Syracuse, Record 26-3
8. Kansas, Record 22-7
9. Wisconsin, Record 24-5
10. San Diego State, Record 25-3
Women’s basketball teams under American Standings are rated as follows:
1. Connecticut, Record 31-0
2. Louisville, Record 28-3
3. South Florida, Record 18-11
4. Rutgers, Record 21-8
5. Southern Methodist, Record 17-12
6. Temple, Record 14-15
7. Memphis, Record 13-17
8. Cincinnati, Record 12-17
9. Ucf, Record 10-19
10. Houston, Record 5-24
So why are rankings so important? The almighty March Madness bracket. Teams throughout the nation work their way to the top and fans use brackets to predict winners and keep track of winning and losing games. It’s even got it’s own term: braketology, coined by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.
Teams traditionally use a single elimination format so just one wrong prediction can screw up an entire bracket, but don’t feel as if you have to succumb to the high pressure antics of some die-hard fans. March Madness can be a lot of fun without being quite so maddening. Here are some tips on how to fill out your bracket and simultaneously stay calm when the game is going right to the buzzer.
1. Fill out two brackets and keep an extra stress ball in your car.
At times during March Madness, you’ll be left awestruck at your inability to call a game, but it can be avoided by first filling out one bracket with the national champion and then filling out a separate bracket the traditional way. If neither bracket works out, it’s time to break out the stress ball. Just don’t use it to compete in the dunk competition.
2. Don’t put all #1 picks in the Final Four and avoid gambling.
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” right? The same thing applies to college basketball. Just because a team has had a spectacular season doesn’t mean they’ll make it to the top four. March Madness is the place for upsets and setbacks for college teams, so don’t place your retirement savings on them either.
3. Remember to have fun!
In the end, it’s all a game and will be back next year for another riveting season.