If you didn’t know by now, I am a proud UCLA alumni. What’s the first thing that you think of when UCLA crosses your mind? Aside from a beautiful campus, a brilliant faculty and student body, and top-tier academics, basketball is HUGE in Bruin culture.
Nearly every March (44 out of 74 appearances) we get to see this storied school compete in the NCAA’s college basketball tournament known as March Madness. But what is March Madness? The name itself is a little strange when you think about it – there’s no other tournament in sports that we so closely associate with mental instability. When you’re following the tournament, you begin to get a sense of WHY they call it madness!
For those of you who don’t know, March Madness is the NCAA’s playoff Basketball tournament where 68 division 1 schools from all over the United States play a bracket-style elimination tournament to decide the NCAA championship.
I think that one aspect of the “madness,” is the fact that you only get ONE shot to win. If you lose at all in the tournament, you can’t win the championship. So many games are decided by one basket, in both the NBA and the NCAA, so the amount of upsets and incredibly close games can be EXTREMELY high!
Going back to my alma mater, the famed and beloved grandfather of UCLA, John Wooden, led the UCLA men’s basketball team as head coach for almost 30 years. In that time, between 1948 and 1979, John led the team to 10 championships in 12 years. Wooden even led the team to seven straight between 1966 and 1973! To put things in perspective, the most championships any other team has won is the University of Kentucky with 8 wins, and there’s a tie for third at 5 wins. John Wooden and UCLA basketball are the definition of dominance.
This year UCLA has a great team, and we’re hoping for at LEAST a final four appearance, if not a championship, but it’s not going to be easy. The Bruins haven’t done too impressively this year thus far, but that’s the beauty of March Madness – anything is possible!
There have been numerous upsets in which very low seeded teams defeat high seeded teams, so it’s anyone’s game really, especially with top NCAA prospects Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson on the team.
The favorites for this year (and pretty much every year) are those listed in the higher ranks of the top 25 – teams like Indiana, Miami, Duke, Michigan, and Florida are frequently found at the top of the pack, and it’s no different this year. It’s not set in stone that the top teams right now will win, but it’s more likely and predictable than an upset.
At any rate, March Madness is a lot of fun to watch, and anyone who enjoys good competition and basketball in general should definitely consider following the madness this year. It may be a little much to follow from the beginning, but around the sweet 16, things should definitely get interesting – and less complicated.
Who are your picks to win it all this year? What do you think about UCLA’s chances this year? Tweet me @DrBillDorfman #MarchMadness!