There is nothing quite like the run of sporting events that are about to happen. The Super Bowl kicks off a run followed by March Madness, the Masters, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoffs, and Major League Baseball beginning.
What makes college basketball’s premier event unique is the March Madness schedule. It takes 68 teams down to crown a champion in three weeks, which means a lot of basketball games are played during that time. And many of those games are played during work hours, which causes a lot of unproductivity and opportunities for fantasy sports and the betting market.
The legalization of sports betting is drawing even more interest to the spectacle. For the same reasons as professional sports booming with embracing the gambling industry, the market stands for amateur sports to benefit.
One of the best places to watch March Madness is at a Las Vegas sportsbook or Stadium Swim. The next best place, or right alongside it, is at the games themselves because of the dramatic plays that occur.
Here are a few reasons why March Madness is one of the best sports spectacles.
Bad beats mean more
Many people can compartmentalize their emotions, which is a considerable life development that allows them to move on from things quickly. That includes making mistakes, losing money, and understanding that there is more to society than what is being offered.
But March Madness brings out different emotions because it is a single elimination tournament that sends teams home. It sends bettors back to place more bets as their handle grows or they look to chase the bets they have missed out on.
The reactions in close games – at least to the spread or over/under – in sportsbooks are remarkable. A game may be in hand, but the reaction to a late bucket may be the same with so many putting money on the line.
Other ways to play
March Madness is full of different games for people to play. For youth sports teams, the Super Bowl squares will make their way to the hardwood for the national championship game. There are survivor pools where picking teams to win each round is another way to enjoy the games and pick out which ones to concentrate on.
Of course, the most popular way is to fill out a bracket each year and keep track of who has the best one. There are so many ways to fill out brackets – based on mascots, nicknames, school colors, and, of course, analysis. People will have fun but often fill out brackets to participate with their family or office pool.
These all contribute to those dramatic moments meaning more. But there are also seeds for a reason, and with every conference’s champion guaranteed to make the dance, it creates a natural underdog story as soon as the lower seeds win a game or two.
Think of Saint Peter’s in 2022, reaching the Elite Eight after slaying some of college basketball’s best teams. A team that played in what looked like a high school gym was now traveled to by major news outlets to share their story. Enrollment numbers were boosted because people had heard of the New Jersey school.
But these dramatic moments also create lasting memories. People still comment on Bryce Drew’s 3-point shot leading to Valparaiso’s big upset. Villanova and North Carolina traded dramatic 3-pointers, with Kris Jenkins securing the championship for the Wildcats. Mario Chalmers hit a big 3-pointer in the Final Four to keep his Kansas Jayhawks alive.
These are some of the sports’ finest moments.
There is talk among coaches, administrators, and the NCAA about expanding the tournament field. What number is ideal? That depends on who you ask. But expanding the tournament – there are already 353 teams in NCAA Division I – may lead to a tournament being watered down. There are already several games that aren’t competitive.
But the college basketball calendar will also have to shift, so maybe it means fewer non-competitive games at the beginning of the season to create more meaningful games later. Now that is an idea.