The Maddest March Madness

University of Illinois basketball game against University of Michigan which would determine their seeding in March Madness.

There are The World Series,The Stanley Cup, and The Super Bowl. These are three of the most anticipated sporting events every year. They have millions of people watching them every year and continue to gain more popularity, but are they anything compared to March Madness?
March Madness is the NCAA basketball tournament. This year the men’s tournament started on Thursday, March 16 and it ended on Monday, April 3. The tournament consists of 64 teams from all over the country. There are four quadrants in the tournament each consisting of sixteen teams ranked from the one seed to the sixteen seed. The four quadrants are the East, West, South, and Midwest. The only way to secure a spot in the tournament is by clenching your conference tournament title. There are 32 conferences which fill up half of the tournament so every other team has to hope that their regular season performance was good enough to secure a spot.
This year’s March Madness set several records with people in attendance and people watching it from afar on their televisions. This year 8.4 million people watched the first round of the tournament which is the largest amount of people in March Madness history to tune in during the first round. The women’s NCAA tournament also set multiple attendance records with the ultimate one being during the championship with 19,482 people in attendance and a record setting 9.9 million people streaming it.
With all the attendance records there were also some more bizarre records that were broken this year. This was the first year in history where there was not a number one seed, which consists of the 4 best teams in the country, did not reach the Final Four During the first round, and Fairleigh Dickinson University, a sixteen seed, came out victorious against Purdue university, a one seed. This is only the second time where a sixteen seed has come out on top against one of the best teams in the country.
Sophomore Kate Burns is a Purdue fan and was not happy to see her team leave the tournament as early as they did in the first round.
“I was completely devastated because going into the tournament we had a high chance of winning it. It also was so sad to see the guys that worked so hard lose in such an upsetting way. But I enjoyed coming together with my family to watch the games and experience the highs and the lows of the tournament together,” Kate said.
This year the Final Four teams were Florida Atlantic University, a nine seed, San Diego State University, a five seed, University of Miami, a five seed, and University of Connecticut, a four seed. The championship game was SDSU and UCONN where UCONN dominated with a final score of 76-59.
Sophomore Chelsea Lindell is a massive UCONN fan since both of her parents attended school there.
“I watched a good majority of the tournament, which included almost every game Uconn played in. Everyone in my family is a huge Uconn fan so when they won it was crazy in our house. It was so exciting seeing them go that far and in the end being able to bring it home after so many years,” Chelsea said.
March Madness this year truly lived up to its name. This March Madness will go down in history with the countless records broken with attendance, streaming, and which teams moved on in the tournament. Will next years live up to the new reputation of the biggest tournament in college sports?