Teams vie for ‘One Shining Moment’ at March Madness

Curtis Manlapig, Editor-in-Chief

March is all about the growth of mustaches  avoiding getting pinched on St Patrick’s Day and most of all, madness.  The sporting event known as “March Madness” involves both Men’s and Women’s College Basketball teams.

It is a series of season ending tournaments that take place in every Division 1 college basketball conference concluding with a winner take all NCAA championship single-elimination tournament.

There are two ways to become included in the NCAA tournament. The easiest way, albeit not easy at all, is to win the conference championship game. Every conference conducts a single elimination tournament that only contains teams from the conference.  Some conferences sport eight teams while others have sixteen which requires a different structure although ending with the same result.

This version gives teams who may have not done so well during the regular season, the chance to prove their worth in their conference tournament and shock everyone by earning an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. Recent local examples of teams winning their conference tournaments have been SDSU winning in 2010 and 2011 and a surprise conference championship by the USD men’s basketball team back in 2008 that even included a first round upset of a highly seeded UCONN squad.

The other way of obtaining a spot in the prestigious tournament, is to acquire an “at large” birth where an NCAA selection committee decides the fate of the teams that did not win their conference championship.

68 teams qualify for the tournament with 31 being tournament champions and the remaining 37 being subjected to the selection committee.

Seems simple enough, win and get in. But what makes this madness?

The madness is the amount of young adults that unite for one year to celebrate what seems more and more like a holiday. College sporting events not only bring students together but the alumni that attended those colleges divulge into the tournament.

Not only do the people that watch and play these games get a rush, but the colleges get a rush of benefits in the form of money and exposure.

Colleges that make it into these tournaments get exposure and high school athletes see them and think to themselves, “this is where I want to be and that school will take me there.”

Money is also a big factor.  The NCAA has a distribution plan in place for how the teams in these tournaments perform.  Each win garners more money for the conference that the team plays in.

“The basketball fund provides for moneys to be distributed to Division 1 conferences based on their performance in Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship over a six year rolling period.”

Conferences benefit from this which ultimately helps the athletic programs as well as the education aspect of college can become more competitive when more people are applying to their schools.

Ironically, “March Madness” ends in April when the championship game is played. But for now, your March will be busy watching these games as there is no clear cut favorite to win and teams not as highly touted by so called “experts” are winning high profile games.

Will the underdog win it all this year? Only when the nets get cut down and “One Shining Moment” is heard throughout the country, will a champion be crowned.