March Madness is a much-anticipated annual event for the Men’s and Women’s Basketball National Championships. This year the 2013 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will take place April 8 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. March Madness began this year on Tuesday, March 19. It consists of teams from the South, East, West, and Midwest regions of the U.S. Each region contains sixteen teams and one team from each region will make the final four. Before teams make it to the final four stage, however, there is the “Sweet Sixteen,” then the “Elite Eight” elimination rounds.
On Tuesday, March 19 President Barack Obama announced his predictions. ESPN reports that President Obama has chosen Florida, Indiana, Louisville, and Ohio State to be in the Final Four. This year celebrities are also announcing the teams they picked to win the championship; Sports Illustrated reported that Shaquille O’Neal (former center for the Miami Heat) bets on Florida taking it home this year. Ron Jaworski (ESPN Monday night football analyst) votes on Georgetown, along with Warren Sapp (former lineman for the Oakland Raiders).
According to the NCAA, more than 176 million viewers watched the men’s tournament last year. This year that number is expected to grow with the games being offered for live viewing on www.ncaa.com and available on the iTunes app store and Google play.
Although the Super Bowl takes the cake in having the most expensive advertisements, Yahoo Finance reported that the average price for a 30 second ad in the championship game costs 1.2 million dollars. They also reported that in 2011, 738 million dollars were spent on the March Madness ads, which was a twenty percent increase from the previous March.
According to the Bleacher Report, there are a few tips for March Madness fans who are looking to create an accurate bracket. One of their top tips is to avoid putting all of the No. 1 seeded teams, (Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Indiana) in the Final Four. Only once in March Madness history has this happened, and it is unlikely to happen again. That being said, you should include at least one No. 1 seeded team in the Final Four because they win the tournament over 50 percent of the time.
Another important tip that the Bleacher Report recommends is picking one or two statistics to base your picks off of. While the RPI, BPI, or strength of schedule is a solid choice, another option to consider is road wins. Since there are no home games, this can be a decisive factor for many teams.
Minnesota is in the South region bracket and is seeded eleventh this year with twenty wins and eleven loses. Generally most people bet their Final Four picks from a regions seed varying from one to six. The teams that hold a spot in seeds one through six carry a better chance statistically of succeeding to the final four and possibly winning the entire championship.
Although our campus may still be icy, many students have caught the March Madness fever. The Gustavus men’s tennis team has gotten involved by making their own brackets and competing against each other. The tennis team, along with other NCAA teams are using ESPN to maintain their eligibility without gambling on other NCAA games, since it is against the rules for NCAA athletes to bet. This has fostered some friendly competition amongst the team with many of the men choosing favorites such as Indiana, Miami, and Louisville. Sophomore Sam Hjelm’s top four picks include Georgetown, Duke, Indiana, and Gonzaga with Indiana as his winning team.
“The Big Ten is a tough conference, so I think that will help [Indiana] in the tournament. They seem like the best overall team and they’re the number one seed in the East Region,” Hjelm said.
For other students on campus who are interested in competing in March Madness, M-Pact is running its own competition. For the second year in a row, M-Pact is accepting brackets and hosting events for students to score extra bonus points towards winning a Nook e-reader or Xbox360. M-pact President, Josh Connell’s top pick is Michigan for the men and Baylor for the women, while the official M-Pact random bracket has Oklahoma winning it all.
Although M-Pact stopped accepting brackets on Thursday, March 21, they are hosting a sports trivia event on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. for Gusties who want to get in on the madness. This event will include chicken wings and artichoke dip along with an extra 10 bonus points for entrants of the M-Pact tournament.
“The trivia contest is a fun way to build community, support M-Pact, and get involved in an exciting campus-wide event,” Connell said.