College Basketball is the greatest sport of all time.
March Madness. It’s hard to argue that this 68 team bonanza of upsets and takedowns isn’t fun to watch. Everyone loves college basketball in March and April, and for good reason.
I grew up watching both collegiate and professional sports, and, unlike most people, I follow both really closely. Given that this is the Chicagoland area, nearly everyone watches professional teams and only alumni of big universities have a serious interest in any college team.
I constantly talk to people about the Bears, Cubs, and Bulls, but no one wants to have a conversation about college football or basketball. What they don’t realize is that college hoops is the best thing on the planet.
Because college basketball doesn’t run like a professional league. Professional teams start each season with legitimate odds to beat other teams and win the league. Most college teams go in with odds next to zero to make a run in March.
As a result, the goal changes. College basketball is a mix of powerhouses and weaklings, and the whole nation rallies around the underdog. The goal is to take down the big guy.
Look at Nebraska. Nebraska is the clear bottom feeder in the Big Ten, and admittedly they entered the season with impossible odds to succeed in conference play. This held true, as they barely scraped together a few wins. While the team didn’t have the power to succeed for itself, it did have the power to ruin seasons for other teams.
On March second, the Cornhuskers headed to Columbus and took down ranked Ohio State on the road, stripping them of their tournament double bye and handing them a quad 4 loss, severely crippling their position in March. The whole nation loved it.
We love rooting for the underdog to take down the big guy because we like to see someone rise from zero to hero. No one watches March Madness rooting for all the top seeds to play in the final four. Smaller teams, lesser seeds, and automatic bid recipients from garbage conferences across the country oftentimes put together a nice game, or a series of nice games, and knock out the teams who have had everything on their side for the entire season.
Brackets are broken and dreams are fulfilled and crushed at the same time as everyone heads on a mission to take down the big dogs. These moments have become the best in sports history.
This isn’t something that a professional league ever sees. In the big leagues, no one wants to be on a losing team. Players play with less heart and fans turn off their TVs as their team sinks out of playoff contention. College is different.
College is unpaid, college is temporary, and players take pride in their team because it’s their school, not just a team that traded for them or could trade them away. Players and fans alike put all of their passion into each game because regardless of a team’s record, they can still complete the goal of the sport – break someone else’s season.
The atmosphere at college basketball games remains unmatched, and the rivalries never lose their fire.
March Madness also proves to be the most intriguing sports event of the year, as 68 teams are selected from across the country. Little teams are given a chance, as every conference tournament winner gets a bid, and as a result teams are all still in it until the very end of the season.
College basketball gives fans a chance to step away from the “big vs big” games that playoffs traditionally feature and a chance to root on true underdogs in each round. The entire country can rally behind a team and the players leave it all out on the court, knowing that each game is their shot to maintain their team’s glory, or create it.