While the regular season is always intense in sports, the playoffs are what truly matters. Whether you’re fighting for the Stanley Cup, the Larry O’Brien Trophy, or the Lombardi Trophy, the tournament that everybody must compete in to hoist the prize is always grueling, filled with heartbreak, pain, joy. It’s where legends are born and where careers die, where moments are made. There may be no tournament that exhibits this more than the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament, known as March Madness.
If you’re a non-basketball fan, you may be wondering why you should watch March Madness. I had the same thought process. Basketball is cool and all, but I have always had trouble getting invested in it for two reasons. The lack of a local team (and the fact that I refuse to root for any Toronto-based teams) hurts my ability to care about games, and the whole thing seems to take too long and not have enough contact compared to my favourite sport, hockey.
When my father asked me to watch some March Madness games with him, I didn’t expect much. There’s no Montreal teams, or any Canadian teams at all for that matter, and the prospect of watching lower level basketball didn’t excite me much. I went in with low expectations.
I was dead wrong.
There were a few reasons that I found college basketball incredibly entertaining, and of those reasons is the changes regarding the time clock. Instead of four 12-minute quarters, the game consists of two 20-minute halves, and the shot clock is at thirty seconds. The game flies by without feeling rushed, and the shot clock gives players more time to make interesting plays. Overall, the changes in time make the pace of the games more exciting.
Another reason to watch is that there’s always huge upsets. Nobody in the history of the tournament has ever submitted a perfect bracket, a testament to how unpredictable March Madness really is. Just this year, Fairleigh Dickinson, the sixteenth-seeded team in their conference, defeated the first seed, Purdue. This is only the second time in history that this has happened, and it was just one of the many upsets this year.
If you’re a fan of underdog stories, more aggressive basketball and a quicker pace, March Madness may just be for you. Next year, fill out a bracket, keep an eye on multiple screens, and prepare for the chaos!