Sports

Let the madness begin

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Sixty-five teams are preparing for one ultimate prize, to be crowned champion of the NCAA Division I men’s national tournament.

No sports postseason compares to college basketball’s. There is nothing like the pressure of a one-game playoff.

The Philadelphia 76ers pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NBA Finals history when they defeated the mighty Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 finals. Unfortunately for the 76ers, they needed to beat the Lakers three more times to win the championship. Los Angeles regained its focus and won the next four games and the series.

The 2006 tournament had America rooting for the little guy when George Mason University went on an incredible run to reach the Final Four before being knocked off by the eventual national champion University of Florida Gators.

George Mason upset the defending national champion University of North Carolina Tar Heels, Michigan State University and the top-ranked University of Connecticut Huskies during its amazing tournament run. Only in the tournament could this happen. Rarely is there drama in the NBA Finals. Since 1978, there have been four finals decided by a seventh game.

In last season’s national championship game, University of Kansas guard Mario Chalmers sank a desperation 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game against the University of Memphis and sent the game into overtime. It was the second tournament championship game to be decided in overtime in the last 11 years.

There have been two NBA Finals in which the seventh game was decided in overtime. But the last such contest occurred in 1962. 

No other postseason unites and divides people as much as the tournament. More worker productivity is lost in the first two days of the tournament than any other days in the year as people keep track of their picks on television and computer screens.

Brackets will dominate the work place environment for the next three weeks.

There will be contests held across America to determine who can correctly pick the most games in the tournament. The odds of correctly choosing the winning team for all 64 games is nine quintillion to one, but everyone who fills out their bracket is convinced they will be the one to pick every winner correctly.

As we watch first round upsets, buzzer-beating shots and underdog teams making a run deep into the tournament, we will be enthralled by it all.

If North Carolina’s Ty Lawson is healthy, the Tar Heels win the tournament and the University of Louisville, Memphis and the University of Pittsburgh will join them in the Final Four.