Blogs & Opinion


March Madness!

Alex Ferguson - Alex Ferguson Posted 15th March 2012 view comments

You've got to love March. The NASCAR season's just started, free agency in the NFL's just about to start, the Major League Baseball season's just a month away... but for four mad weeks, no-one is going to care less, because it's 'March Madness' time, and everyone's going to get involved.

For those of you who don't know what March Madness is, here's a quick explanation: 64 of America's top teams go to the NCAA basketball tournament. They play each other in a knock-out format, with the No.1 seed playing the No.16, the No.2 playing the No.15 etc...)

Tens of millions of people go to their computers, fill out brackets pitching 64 of the best schools in the country against each other and cross their fingers and hope. Some people hope of their money, while others hope for upsets. The US media probably hopes for a bit of both.

The semi-finals and final ("The Final Four") will be played out in New Orleans (as if THAT place can't get enough big events over the next 12 months!), in front of 75,000 people - which is quite a view for those people sitting in the top tier to watch a basketball game.

But before all of that, is this coming Thursday, March 15. It's one of the biggest betting days in Las Vegas, and it's a day that many think should be declared a national holiday in the US, because let's face it - 60-odd million people watch it in on TV, and no-one's going to be working. Heck, the online coverage even has a 'boss button' that you can click, and it automatically moves across to an Excel spreadsheet (click off and you can go back to Baylor playing South Dakota State).

Here's the tournament by the numbers:

64 - Number of schools involved in the annual NCAA Basketball Competition

32 - Match-ups that will happen on Thursday and Friday. That's a lot of basketball

1 - Kentucky - the team expected by almost everybody in their right mind to win it all...which probably means that they won't do it! Saying that, Kentucky hasn't lost many games this year and freshman Anthony Davis is a freak.

3 - The Wildcats are also the first seed, alongside North Carolina, Michigan State, Syracuse). We don't expect them all to be in the Final Four, but you'd be stupid not to think that at least one of them will make the fun in New Orleans.

6 -Matches that a team will have to win to become the 2012 National Champion.

12 - Watch out of the 12th seed (this year Virginia Commonwealth, Harvard, Long Beach State or the winner of the California/South Florida match-up). It seems that every year a 12-seed beats a five seed (this year's worrieds are Temple, New Mexico, Wichita State and Vanderbilt).

32 - Games of basketball on Thursday and Friday. That's a lot of basketball. And sadly, a lot of ad breaks (called 'media timeouts' in this day and age), too.

79 - Tournament matches that Duke has won under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. We predict two more wins for the Blue Devils this year - before they lose to Baylor.

55,675 - Capacity of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, which will host the Final Four on March 31st- April 2nd. There will be no fools in the crowd - they are going to be paying everything from hundreds to thousands of dollars for their tickets.

March 17 - Saturday's St Patrick's Day celebration - which will also be the second day of March Madness - means that you're going to see an awful lot of green and inbreation. Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans are going to pray their team make it that far.

$10.8 billion - The amount of money US broadcasters CBS and Turner Sports are paying the NCAA for TV rights for the tournament.

0 - Matter of people who will care about how much they've paid for NCAA rights as long as their team wins - or their bracket beats their friends (like this writer!).

back to top

Other Blogs:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Draft includers

With the college football season only two weeks away, Alex Ferguson kicks off the new term with his 10 out of 10......

Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....

comments

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Merse tips draws for Arsenal and Man City and a win for Man United because of their name, not their form....

Jamie Redknapp

Jamie: Arsenal must prove progress

If Arsenal want the title they must shut out the top teams, starting with Everton, says Jamie Redknapp....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....

comments

Guillem Balague

Balague: no room for James

Guillem Balague says £63m man James Rodriguez may struggle to find his place in the Real Madrid line-up....

Stuart Barnes

Streak slips away

New Zealand fell short of an historic record but England Women had plenty to smile about, says Stuart Barnes....

Phil Clarke

Rules of the gain?

Phil Clarke is worried some of the basic laws are being ignored just to make rugby league faster....

Barrie vs Terry

Barrie v Terry

Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor go head-to-head with their Super League predictions......

Andrew Strauss

Growing reputation

Alastair Cook has significantly boosted his standing in the England dressing room, says Andrew Strauss....

Alex Hammond

Royal week of racing

Alex Hammond shares tips for the Galway Festival and Glorious Goodwood - where Captain Cat is among her selections....

Alex Hammond

Eagle Top-ing it

Alex Hammond tips her winners for the weekend's racing, including the Queen Elizabeth Stakes....

Neal Foulds

Selby steel

New world champion Mark Selby's the master of match play, says Neal Foulds - but what's next for Ronnie?...

comments

Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....

comments

Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Back on track

Lakeside can make it two wins over Belle Vue Aces in four days, says Kelvin Tatum, but it'll be close!...

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Hit the road

Swindon are struggling this season but will fancy their chances at Birmingham, says Kelvin Tatum....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Racing away

Belle Vue are unbeaten at home but Kelvin Tatum asks if they can transfer that form at Swindon....

comments

Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......

comments

Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....

comments

Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....

comments

Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...

0 comments

Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....

2 comments

Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....

0 comments