BY SYDNEY SNELSON
The NCAA Men’s College Basketball tournament is underway, and this final week of games will finally show us who the best Division 1 team really is. Through the numerous polls and rankings, the many upsets that destroyed those polls and rankings, and players proving that polls and rankings aren’t always accurate, this is March Madness.
The Final Four kicks off this Saturday night, and seeing who will make it to the title game has been all any sports outlet can talk about. Based on betting odds, UConn is favored with a -125 rating. San Diego State, Miami, and FAU are underdogs with +390, +500, and +600 ratings. However, the tournament isn’t nicknamed “The Big Dance” for nothing. The last month has proven that regardless of rankings, the title is anyone’s to take. The first round opened up with two great upsets. (15) Princeton hung on and beat (2) Arizona in one of the starting games. The next day was home to a historical victory for FDU over Purdue. This win was only the second time a 16 seed beat a 1 seed in all of the tournaments standing.
March Madness has secured its spot as a must-watch show. With its first game tipping off in 1939, the tournament was small and only featured 8 teams. That year, the University of Oregon won over Ohio State 46-33 and became the first champions. The pool of teams only grew before coming to its current number of 68. To account for the large field, eight programs participate in play-in games. The winners join the official bracket and play in the first round of 64. Besides the games, probably the most famous part of the tournament is the name itself. The term “March Madness” was first used by Henry V. Porter, a high school official from Illinois. But the name didn’t stick until Brent Musberger used it during the 1982 games. Ever since then, the tournament’s nickname has been a good indicator of what to expect during the month of games.
As fans wait to watch the first of the final four rounds, the question of who will come out on top is the biggest question. These last four teams all have things to prove. Will UConn live up to expectations? Will Miami prove everyone wrong by beating the expected national champions? Will San Diego State continue with this unpredicted streak? Or will FAU come out on top as the underdogs of this year’s tournament? After all, it’s March. Anything could happen.
Picture of the University of Oregon and Ohio State playing in the title game of the first NCAA Tournament, 1939
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