It’s that time of year folks! March Madness, the annual event where the best of women’s and men’s college basketball compete center stage, wrapped up last weekend with the final two championship games.
Last year, March Madness was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This proved to be such an upset for fans across the country as the tournament is so celebrated year-in and year-out.
In fact, recently the men’s Final Four on TBS and truTV was watched by more than seven million households.
Seeing all the stellar ratings made me wonder, why do we love March Madness so much?
Supporting your School
The number one reason why we love March Madness is that we love to support our schools.
Whether you are an alumni or a current student, everyone loves to support where they came from. It’s almost like it is in our blood. We love the ability to see our schools on a nation stage where millions of people will be able to see them.
While the University of Baltimore hasn’t had a college basketball team to root for since the early 80’s, it’s almost better in some ways. We can root for whoever we want with no repercussions!
The second reason why we love March Madness is that we love Cinderella stories. We love it when the underdog schools find a way to get into the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, or even sometimes the Final Four. This happens every year and it is always exciting!
This year the Cinderella story has been UCLA. Ranked number eleven, they made it all the way to the Final Four just to come up short to the number one seed Gonzaga. Their journey is just the latest and I am sure there will be another great Cinderella story next year.
The Player who Takes Over
The third reason why we love March Madness is that every year it feels like there is one player who can take over the tournament and lead his team all on their own.
Stephen Curry led his school Davidson. Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to a National Championship.
This year the most dominant player has been Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga who has led them all the way to the championship game with his crazy game winning shot against UCLA.
This leads me to my next point.
My number four reason why we love March Madness is the crazy game winners.
Every year for March Madness it feels like we always get at least two crazy game winners, sometimes even more.
Some of the greatest that will always live in our hearts are Mario Chalmers’ game tying shot for Kansas, or Kris Jenkins’ game winner for the National Championship. The Jalen Suggs game winner I mentioned previously is arguably already one of the greatest ever because of the impact and shot itself. Suggs stopped UCLA from having arguably the greatest tournament ever with a pull up banking three pointer to send them home. This is just another classic shot that will live in our hearts forever.
UCONN’s Dominance is finally Changing
Unfortunately, women’s college basketball is sometimes an afterthought when March Madness comes around because of UCONN’s dominance. They won an astounding four championships in a row from 2013 to 2016, and eleven championships overall.
This dominance is what made them great, but it left many fans bored of seeing the same school win every year. This is finally starting to change.
It has been a few years since they have won a National Championship, and this is great because it allows other teams to make a name for themselves. With Paige Bueckers on UCONN’s side, it was surprising to see them knocked out so early by Arizona in the Final Four.
This year we were able to see UCONN dominate and still see other schools grab the spotlight as well. This culminated with Stanford’s victory over Arizona by just one point!
Unbelievable Season Runs
Gonzaga had an unbelievable run this season, sitting at an astounding 31-0 record going into the championship game. When the tournament started last month, many had Gonzaga winning it all in their bracket, and they came pretty darn close.
But the one game they needed to win, they couldn’t make it count.
Baylor, who hadn’t won a championship in 73 years, kept Gonzaga down. The Bulldogs were able to fight back to just a single-digit definit at some points, but overall it was too much to overcome. Baylor routed Gonzaga 86-70.
March Madness is a great time each year for sports fans because it allows them to root for something. This gave us a much needed boost, considering how miserable Covid has made everyone. This tournament has been one of the greatest in recent memory.
Demetrius Jones is a staff writer for The Sting.