College hoops fans live for March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball championship single-elimination tournament, which begins on March 15 with 68 teams and whittles down to The Final Four on April 2, and then finally the Championships, being hosted by Rice University and University of Houston at NRG Stadium in Houston on April 4.
March Madness, also known as “The Big Dance,” now in its 78th year, puts 68 of the 339 eligible college Division I teams to the test, over the course of three weeks. The first round kicks off on March 15-16 at UD Arena in Dayton, OH.
The second round, scheduled for March 17-20, to be hosted at nine venues across the country, will leave “The Sweet Sixteen” standing and a turn at the South Regional bracket level on March 25 before finally identifying “The Elite Eight”.
Historically, when The Big Dance began in 1939, only eight teams participated. By 1979, there were 40 teams in the championship.
In addition to the excitement of naming an ultimate winner, college basketball viewers are also watching their teams and the competitors to identify the “Cinderella” or the underdog who swoops in each season to upset for the win. This can be as exciting to college basketball fans as watching two of the best teams duke it out on the court.
College basketball fans are unlike other sports fans, taking fanology to a new level. They are manic about their teams, which goes far beyond just face painting and team pennant waving. Bracketology is probably one of the most appealing things to fans and spectators alike. It’s the process of predicting each level of participants in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, named as such because it is commonly used to fill in tournament brackets for the postseason.
Locally, watch for Stony Brook and Hofstra to be invited to the Dance. Check out www.ncaa.com/march-madness for standings, TV listings and other helpful information about tournament updates.