If you’re a first-time international student in the U.S., you may be wondering what’s the big deal with March Madness. WES Student Advisor is here to get you up to speed.
March Madness refers to the joy of the final few weeks of the college basketball season. It’s basically a big college basketball tournament played across the United States that features many major schools. It’s called “Madness” simply because there are so many games going on throughout the country, usually at the same time, in rapid succession during the month of March. Teams that win mustn’t celebrate too much because they may have to play again just two days later. And the tournament is a single-elimination event, so a loss means the end of the season.
The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament – that’s like the official name for March Madness – touches all four corners of the country, with games in various geographic regions. Schools may or may not play near home, depending on the way the bracket is constructed. This year, the tournament is being held in cities ranging from Seattle and Pittsburgh, to Houston and Los Angeles.
March Madness features 68 teams (previously 64), which are announced annually on Selection Sunday (that’s this Sunday, March 15). The best teams already know they’re going to be selected; but some of the teams in the next tier, known as bubble teams, will be biting their nails and waiting to hear if their school’s name is called. Various rounds of the tournament have distinctive names like the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, and the Final Four. This year the Final Four will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
More than anything, March Madness is about school spirit. Students travel all across the U.S. to cheer on their classmates. For the students who don’t make the trek, March Madness continues on-campus with parties well into the night for those schools that have success. In many places, basketball rivals (or even exceeds) football in its ability to generate interest, so many people join in the frivolity.
If you have the opportunity to attend an NCAA tournament game, take advantage of it! And even if you’re just watching the games on campus with friends, have fun and share your pictures on our Facebook page!