A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Madness in March: An Explanation

When I first signed up to write about March Madness, I had no idea what it was. I had to nag my little brother and dad to explain it to me. Apparently, March Madness is when 68 college basketball teams come together to compete against each other in a tournament put on by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association); there is one tournament for men and one for women. Of 336 qualified Division I teams, the teams chosen to compete in March Madness are chosen after being evaluated by each member of the Division I men’s basketball committee.

Whenever a team loses a game, it must depart from the competition; the winner is the last team left in the tournament. The March part of March Madness comes from the fact that the games generally occur during the month of March, and the madness part comes from the craze that the game causes. This year’s madness can be recorded in an estimate of over $9 billion in bets on the game. There are even promises of $1 billion for anyone who can guess a perfect bracket before the games begin. The odds of getting a perfect bracket are one in nine quintillion. I didn’t even know the number quintillion existed.

This year March Madness took place from the second week in March to the first week of April. The teams to compete in the 2016 March Madness tournament ranged from all over the country, but the top 4 teams left in the game were Villanova, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Syracuse. Villanova ended up beating Oklahoma, and North Carolina beat Syracuse, so the top two teams in the March Madness finals were Villanova and North Carolina. Last year, Duke took the winning title. However, this year, Villanova beat North Carolina 77-74 in Houston, Texas, making them the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament champions. The last time Villanova won the winning title was in 1985, 31 years ago.