March Madness Reaches SHP

There are two major events that characterize the month of March. The first is St. Patrick’s Day, which is filled with rich traditions and lots of green. The second is March Madness: the NCAA D1 Basketball Tournament which features 68 teams who compete for the national title.

Initially, there was no March Madness. The competition, which was formed in 1939, was simply referred to as the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament. The term “March Madness” comes from an Illinois high school basketball tournament dating back to 1939. Henry V. Porter, an Illinois high school official, used the term “March Madness” to describe the anticipation and excitement that characterized those Illinois high school basketball tournaments. The name made its way to the NCAA tournament when CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger used it during his coverage of the 1982 tournament. Over time, even the number of teams grew. In 1939, the tournament only consisted of eight teams. That number grew throughout the coming years, increasing to sixteen in 1951, thirty-two in 1975, sixty-four in 1985, and sixty-eight in 2011, which is still used today.

With all sports, statistics and accolades always accompany success. UCLA has eleven championships, which is the most by any college. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski has the most wins by a coach with ninety-seven. In terms of wins and tournament appearances, Kentucky holds the record with one hundred twenty-nine wins and fifty-eight appearances. Christian Laettner, who played for Duke, is the tournament’s all-time scoring record holder, with four hundred seven total points.

March Madness, aside from being known as the biggest collegiate sports tournament, also has its traditions. Friends and family gather to watch the big games and root for their favorite teams or alma maters. However, the biggest tradition is the March Madness bracket. Tens of millions of sports fans print and fill out the tournament bracket with their predictions of who is going to win each game. Eventually, those people will appoint a winner of the entire tournament. These people tend to place bets over who gets a correct bracket or the closest bracket to the correct outcomes. According to the NCAA, there has not ever been a perfect bracket.

Seton Hall University is in and ready for this year’s tournament, with a first-round matchup against TCU this Friday. Recently, I had the chance to discuss this year’s tournament with Ms. Wester, my history teacher, a self-proclaimed Seton Hall Basketball superfan. On a scale of one to ten, she rated her excitement a seven and her nervousness an eight. Ms. Wester then justified her ranking. She hoped for the seven seed, but instead Seton Hall is set at the eight seed, which is a tougher path to the championship. When I asked Ms. Wester how she feels about Seton Hall’s first round matchup, she was analytical yet optimistic. She feels that Seton Hall is in very good shape for TCU. Both teams are similar and have good wins, but Seton Hall’s players have more tournament experience, which Ms. Wester believes will certainly help their chances of winning. Ms. Wester also shared some of her March Madness traditions. Of course, she fills out a bracket every year. She also enjoys watching Seton Hall’s games with her brother and friends. Ms. Wester hopes to attend a Seton Hall tournament game in the future, especially after her tickets for the 2020 tournament were canceled. I concluded our conversation with the obvious question: What are your picks? Ms. Wester has Gonzaga coming out of the West and Kentucky winning the East. As for the Pirates, she has them falling to Arizona in the second round.

March Madness has the same influence on Seton Hall Prep as it does across the country. March Madness is more than a tournament; it symbolizes a love for the game of basketball. That is the reason millions of people gather together, watch the games, fill their stomachs with anxiety, and have a fun time. As the tournament precedes through March, SHP will continue to stay on top of the games, patiently waiting to check off each prediction on the bracket sheet.