The Real March Madness

This Sunday is Selection Sunday: one of the biggest events of the year in the world of college basketball, a world unfamiliar to a majority of most Tufts students. However, outside of the Jumbo bubble, some teams are ready to make it into the big dance. On Selection Sunday, the bracket for the NCAA Division I Basketball tournament is revealed and bets begin! In the tournament, 68 teams compete in a single round elimination tournament for the championship. The drama to these games is huge because if a team loses just once, they’re out of the tournament. This frenzy of excitement and passion in mid-to-late March is often referred to as March Madness, and it’s starting up again next week. Immediately after Selection Sunday, teams prepare for the first round of the tourney. This year, the first four teams, vying for spots in the Round of 64, aka the real first round of the tournament, play on March 15th in Ohio. The Round of 64 starts on March 17th, and some games are being played pretty close by in the town (it’s pretty much a town) of Providence, Rhode Island. My mom went to school in the Midwest, a big hub for college basketball, so I’m always excited when the tournament comes around. It’s always fun to watch and almost as fun to predict, even when you lose a majority of your bets. I never really understood why it was called March Madness though, until now…

As a college student, I have discovered the great amount of stress that comes in March due to midterms and an onslaught of work right before Spring Break. Spring Break starts in seven days, yet I still have to take four tests, write this article, and do a few homework assignments before I can forget about the relationship between average total costs and marginal cost, factors that determine climate, and what being high on caffeine feels like. Since I’m so concentrated on achievement, schoolwork, and Tufts things, I feel like I’m going crazy. There’s a lot of pressure to do well. It makes sense that this stressful time of year is often referred to as “March Madness.” Along with the excitement of sports, there is a frenzy of passion and heartbreak as students diligently prepare for midterms and stress out over unfortunate circumstances. At times, the worlds of basketball and testing collide.

For example, an old friend of mine studying at University of California, San Diego was given a blessing last weekend when their D2 basketball clinched a berth to the NCAA D2 tournament in a stunning overtime victory. He needed to do a group presentation with a friend on the basketball team, and luckily the presentation was postponed. With less than one second left on the clock, the UCSD Tritons made a full court inbound play that led to a clutch 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. Stuff like this is what makes March so crazy. The world has gone mad. I mean, just look at the weather. It’s freezing one day and beautiful the next. The advent of spring also makes some students very happy, so it’s hard to determine if one should be happy or freaking out sometimes.

March is filled with maddening sorts of conflicts. I have a boatload of things to study for, but I also really want to attend the D3 Men’s Basketball Sweet 16 game Tufts has against Johnson & Wales tonight at 7:30. I’m conflicted by my need to study and my love for watching basketball. I can’t remember the last time I saw a basketball game live. This is mostly because I can never figure out when Tufts basketball games are and because TD Garden is ridiculously expensive. I mean c’mon, $50 for nosebleeds? Really? It’s not like the Celtics are anywhere close to being as good as the Warriors right now. Anyway, these decisions to go crazy studying or get crazy turnt are what college students face all the time. It’s easy to get burnt out, which is why a spring break is so necessary. Sadly, that isn’t until next week.

Next week, I am lucky enough to be headed back home for a week to relax and spend time with family and friends. I’ll get to watch the March Madness tournament in a state of bliss and have time to procrastinate on some things. By the third day, I’ll be so lethargic that I’ll turn March into Glarch, and I’ll also be glad. I’m really looking forward to Glarch Gladness this year, especially through the upcoming Madness of the next few weeks.



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