There are two types of people within the United States. Those who think March 21, 2013 is a Thursday and those who know it is the beginning of the most exciting four days in American sports.
The first weekend of the 64-team NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, known as March Madness, marks the beginning of an 85-hour period of agitated zombie-like worthlessness for 90% of men and 17% of women across the country (statistics completely made up but a surprisingly good guess if we say so ourselves; which we do.).
I say worthlessness only because that’s how it may appear to anyone who hasn’t embraced the Madness. So, you might as well give in and join their dedication to multiple TVs, high fives, and bouts of screaming. Or at least know what they’re talking about.
This is your cliffnotes guide to getting through the furious four days of Madness and Mayhem .
March Madness is a 64-team tournament, one-and-done style—as in, if you lose once, you're done! Those 64 teams are broken up into four “regions,” lovingly designated East, West, South, and MidWest—with 16 teams in each.
In each of the four regions, the teams are ranked by old, angry sports experts based on their basketball ability—from 1 (the best) to 16 (not the best, but a pretty solid birthday number). These numbers are called “seeds,” which is important. It’s also kind of upsetting and sad, because they make the #16 seed play the #1 seed in the first game! (And you thought there was no drama in basketball.) And, no, (#16) has never won a game in the tournament, ever. Statistics to come later regarding overall upsets and mayhem to ensue.
In any case, when you’re watching the game, you’ll see the seed listed next to each team’s name, so you’ll know which team is supposed to win, or, better yet, how big an upset it is if it’s the other way around. Everyone bandwagons on the 12s, 13s, and 14s when they win. 15's are like finding nudes of unicorn Rets!
The Sweet Sixteen
The first four days of the tournament, while a huge deal, are actually only the first two rounds. At the end of the day on Sunday, there will be 16 teams remaining in the tournament, a.k.a. the Sweet Sixteen. Over the next two weeks, those will be whittled down to the Elite Eight, and finally, the teams claiming victory over the East, West, South, and MidWest divisions will become the Final Four.
Then, those teams play each other, one becomes the champion, and a video montage of all the tournament highlights to the sweet smooth sound of Luther Vandross’s “One Shining Moment” ensues. Believe me, it’s even more glorious than it sounds.
Terms to Know
In the next couple weeks, you’ll hear these terms thrown around a lot—so here’s what they mean (and don’t mean, at least as far as basketball is concerned).
Bracket: A term used frequently in IKEA assembly instructions (or rather would be, if they weren’t all just drawings)—or a map of all the tournament match-ups, with predictions on who will win each.
Those are the pieces of paper that all the zombies have been scribbling on trying to be the ULTIMATE prognosticator where there are usually pools and side bets along with bragging rights.
Cinderella: A fairy tale involving a blond janitor—or the underdog. Used to describe a low-seeded (ranked) team that wins the first round, and particularly if they continue on deep into the tournament.
Buzzer Beater: A shot made as time on the game clock expires, sending one team home and the other into a violently aggressive victory dance rampage.
- A popular upset pick is the #12 seed beating a #5 seed. (more to come)
- As previously mentioned, the #1 seed has never lost to a #16 seed. Similarly, a #15 seed has beaten a #2 seed maybe two or three times, ever.
- The teams that win on Thursday play again on Saturday.
- The teams that win on Friday play again on Sunday.
- Commentator Dick Vitale is the insane bald Grandpa you always wanted.
- Commentator Bob Knight is the cranky old neighbor that most likely disposed of your family pet Skippy.
These are the basics—but there is so, so, much more to this tournament if you give it a little chance. So, learn a little about the game, give the first four days a try, and you just might be joining the zombie crowd for the rest of the tournament.
When the brackets come out in a week, there will be more help from me regarding filling out a bracket. Here is a primer though.
Standard ways to pick a bracket
Round of 64 seed pairing results
NCAA Tournament % Wins per rank
Since the inception of the 64-team tournament in 1985, through 2012, each seed-pairing has played a total of 112 games, with the following results:
The #1 seed is 112–0 against the #16 seed (100%).
The #2 seed is 106–6 against the #15 seed (94.64%).
The #3 seed is 96–16 against the #14 seed (85.71%).
The #4 seed is 88–24 against the #13 seed (78.57%).
The #5 seed is 74–38 against the #12 seed (66.07%).
The #6 seed is 74–38 against the #11 seed (66.07%).
The #7 seed is 67–45 against the #10 seed (59.82%).
The #8 seed is 54–58 against the #9 seed (48.21%).
Since the expansion to 64 teams in 1985, through 2012, the following results have occurred for each pairing:
In the 1/16 vs. 8/9 bracket:
vs. #8 vs. #9
#1 44–10 (.815) 54–4 (.931)
In the 2/15 vs. 7/10 bracket:
vs. #7 vs. #10
#2 48–17 (.739) 24–17 (.585)
#15 0–2 (.000) 0–4 (.000)
In the 3/14 vs. 6/11 bracket:
vs. #6 vs. #11
#3 34–27 (.557) 23–12 (.657)
#14 2–11 (.154) 0–3 (.000)
In the 4/13 vs. 5/12 bracket:
vs. #5 vs. #12
#4 32–28 (.533) 17–11 (.607)
#13 3–11 (.214) 2–8 (.200)
UNLEASH THE HOUNDS OF WAR!
TL; DR Come play for free with other Twelvians in a guessing game of trying to pick the winners of a 64 team basketball tournament. The stars of the NBA usually come from this tournament. More Info to come next Sunday!
Last edited by Beefyfife on Mar 22nd, 2013, 12:25 am, edited 5 times in total.