The Ides of March Madness: The Unbreakable Enigma

Most will call the World Cup the greatest sporting tournament. Some will say the Super Bowl is the greatest event. Others might think the Olympics as the best sporting event. As much as I love all of them, the best even happens in March

It's where names are made such as Steph Curry and his run to the elite 8. Dreams are made by defying the impossible. Dreams are also broken especially when seniors forcibly accept the mortality of the reality that they aren't going pro and laced up for the very least time. Dominance prevailing such as the Bruins of the 60s and 70s. Titans battle. The David's of 15 Mercer taking down the 2 seed Golliarh of Duke. Improbable runs like Jimmy V and his mediocre NC State team lucking up and revolutionizing the game of basketball all the way to the championship with a win over the prohibitive favorite, the Phi Slamma Jamma Houston cougars, that will be remembered for generations. And single moments that last a lifetime

It's a 1 month, 68 team, single elimination tournament; It's March Madness

Yet, as great as the tournament is, it's magic isn't just in the tournament, but a single 8x11 sheet of paper:

The Ides of March Madness: The Unbreakable Enigma

The idea is simple. Pick the right team to win... But that's where the simplicity ends and the ambiguity begins. A simple sheet, with 68 teams to choose, yet 9.2 quintillion possibilities, although some dude reduced it down to a mere 1 in 128 billion. Let's put that into perspective:

-Getting and Oscar: 1/11,5,000

-Getting struck by lightening: 1/80,000

-Becoming an astronaut: 1-3/600,000

-Getting a hole in 1: 1/1,000,000

-Getting eaten by a shark: 1/3,750,000

-Becoming president of the USA: 1/10,000,000

-Being crushed by a vending machine: 112,000,000,000

With those kinds of odds, I could argue that I'm being when Warren Buffett announced that he'll fork over $1 billion (with a B) of his own money to anyone that can successfully put together a perfect bracket

With virtually limitless possibilities, there are metrics that would rival any Phd in mathematics (I shit you, not). From RPI to BPI; Massey to KenPom to Sargiran to LRMC. All complex in nature, yet diluted down to arbitrary numbers and figures for the average Joe to understand. All of which are used to justify the unknown

Even amid all such formulas and algorithms, many realize the randomness of March Madness that defies conventional basketball wisdom and logic. From the toss up 7/10 and 8/9 match-ups to the almost inexplicable 5/12 upsets. Because of the unpredictability, many turn to less conventional means by conceding that their perverse system may actually fair better than any games they watched of a particular team or conference or what research they've done leading up to the start of the tournament. Some, including me, diluting to literally flipping a coin. Oddly, the more outlandish the method, the more we make sense of it:

Even with all the methods, as methodical as formulas to as ludicrous as picking heads or tails, the games still remain a mystery even as you contrast so many factors. Power conference powerhouses like UNC, power conference new bloods like Northwestern (who has never been to the tournament until this year, assuming their win over Michigan solidified their bid), mid major dominance seen from Gonzaga or Villanova, teams just happy to be given an opportunity like the MEAC or Big South, the staunch defenses of Virginia and Press Virginia, or offensive machines like a UCLA. Do they like playing big or small ball? Are they good against the press or zone? Are the people they're playing do good against the press or zone and are they big or small? Do they run up/down or like to play half court? Teams that made it in by the skin of their teeth. Battle tested teams from loaded conferences. Or the teams that seem dominant by beating up on cupcakes to the ones that simply have flown under the radar. There are the untried favorites like the 1 and done's of Kentucky (fuck Calipari) and teams rich with juniors and seniors who have the cohesiveness of a well oiled machine. Some have an expectation of making it to at least the 2nd week, while others are just trying to merely survive and advance

Every team has 6 games to win to get to the top. Some have an expectation of making it to at least the 2nd week, while others are just trying to merely survive and advance. But with each win comes a next opponent that's harder and different than the last in terms of the opposition and in terms of the pressure. Every team has 6 games to win. With single elimination, there are no off nights, no next game, and no second chances... Ask Kentucky

The Ides of March Madness: The Unbreakable Enigma

But with each win comes a next opponent that's harder than the last. But for every game, In terms of the opposition and in terms of the pressure. For the coming 2 weeks, we have conference championship games, aka Championship Week. While we crown 32 champions, 36 more await their fate. Some being locks while others being on the fringe. All finding out their opponents and potential opponents on Selection Sunday. Those celebrations are short lived as it's like the calm before the storm. Where anything can and will happen, it's not a tournament, it's Madness


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  • Nothing compares to college sports for excitement and drama! I am a college football fan and I'd rather watch college than the pros. . . without a doubt!

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  • can Nova repeat? probably not but it will be fun to watch

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  • thats right, women, this is what it's all about, right here.. the ncaa basketball tournament, this is what men enjoy, NOT SHOPPING

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  • You could also ask kentucky about when they beat undefeated wichita state as an 8th seed a couple years ago. I'm pretty pumped for this march, there's no big favorite, just a lot of really good teams

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    • I feel like it's slightly different in a power 5 conference and your roster is stacked 10 deep with McDonald's all Americans vs a Wichita team with mostly upper classmen who weren't top 150 recruits... But that's just me. But I'm pumped, too! Anyone can beat anyone yet it's deep with talent

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    • Hahaha now your second sentence makes sense, lol

      And yep, thats Duke for ya.

    • Duke is duke, but Kentucky is scum... I'll leave it at that

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