By: Morgan Urtso
1. The Upsets
It happens every year, without fail.
Heck, it happened last night! According to ESPN, 95% of proud bracket-carrying sports fans picked New Mexico to advance against Harvard. Sorry, 95%. Harvard’s in and you’re out!
And even though their brackets are all out of whack, most sports fans aren’t reeling from the pain of New Mexico’s loss simply because the underdog came up from the bottom ranks of the pack and took out a 3-seed.
See ya, UNLV. Bye bye Oklahoma State. Better luck next time, Pitt.
Wait, wait, it just happened again… later, Wisconsin!
Upsets turn almost everyone who doesn’t have a stake in the game into an instant fan of the underdog. Cal, Oregon, Wichita State and Ole Miss are now chock-full of loyal supporters across the country – at least until the end of March.
2. The Overload
The March Madness schedule is simple. Chaotic, but simple nonetheless. Simple, but really, really chaotic. 32 games in two days? Where else can sports fans obtain of influx of exhilaration, hour after hour after hour after another 20+ hours of game time? And that’s just the first round.
Whose torturously ironic idea was it to schedule the two days with the most chaos and the most upsets during the work week? Probably a relative of the guy who runs around the office showing off his nearly flawless bracket (one of the 47 versions he filled out). After all, who would he get to brag to if the first two rounds were over the weekend? His cats.
According to Forbes.com, American companies will waste approximately $134 million in wages during the first round of March Madness, while employees are skipping work to watch games, watching online, checking scores and monitoring their brackets while they pretend to tackle expense reports, and running around the office like Bob the Bracket Boss up there.
The nation tunes into the insanity that is March Madness because the schedule is simply (and chaotically – did I mention that yet?) unparalleled.
3. The Glass Slipper Effect
Last year was her year. Cinderella’s, I mean. They say madness is one fine line away from genius, and if the shoe fits, wear it.
Who is this year’s Cinderella? Harvard, maybe? James Madison, perhaps? Albany? I don’t know about you, but if West Virginia can find a way to creep in there unnoticed, I think the Mountaineers have a solid chance of taking it to the ship.
George Mason in 2006. North Carolina State in 83. Villanova back in 85. the March Madness Cinderella storyline is the most intriguing of all.
It stands the test of time.
Years from now, you’ll be filling out your bracket at work (wasting those aforementioned wages and productivity). You’ll smile, look over at your coworkers and say, “Hey, remember that time West Virginia won the Championship back in 2013? The year they weren’t even in the tournament to begin with? What a Cinderella story!”
And Bob the Bracket Boss will be like, “Yeah, I called that! It was in my bracket.”
4. The Bracketeering
It’s the same reason people get such a rush betting against the line in Vegas on any given Sunday in the fall or a chilly October night during MLB playoffs. You have a stake in the game. You’ve invested something in it. Whether it’s your time, your pride, or your hard-earned cash money, filling out a bracket during March Madness gives you a reason to care about the outcome of every. single. game.
You didn’t really WANT Pitt to win in the first round, did you?
I didn’t. But I picked them to advance, and CBS Sports says 68% of you did the same thing. So a small part of us is a little bummed that our brackets are all out of whack now. That pick cost me 30 seconds and like ten bucks.
The bragging rights associated with winning your office bracket pool are potentially the most coveted accolade of them all. Finally, everyone will be forced to respect your sports analysis and opinions, because you’re clearly an expert.
5. The Passion
These teams are fighting for their lives out there – ok, maybe not their lives, but a really big trophy and a lot of respect.
There’s an unmatched passion living within the realm of college sports. These unpaid athletes are banded together, fighting for something they believe they deserve, doing it for their school, their fans, and their future.
64 eager and, debatably, worthy opponents meet at the bottom and race to the top – one and out, one and out, one and out – a year’s worth of work dedicated to the be-all-end-all that is the National Championship.
There can only be one, and they know it. It shows in the way they play. Sports fans live to see that kind of passion in players – it’s what fuels their own.