Why is March Madness such a big deal?

At the college I went to, few people cared about our basketball team(or any of our sports for that matter) unless they or a friend were on the team. So I don’t understand why people get so excited to watch games between colleges they have no connection to at all.

In my opinion, basketball is the greatest sport in the world, and even if you don’t have a dog in the fight, it’s still fun to watch little schools try and knock off established ones.

I live in Virginia, and it was a Big Deal when VCU went from the First Four to the Final Four a few years ago.

I grew up in Indiana, and my dad went to Indiana University, so the Hoosiers are my team.

Thread relocated to The Game Room.


It’s a contest set up in an elimination format. For whatever reason people are very attracted to anything where finalists are slowly eliminated. NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL playoffs, and pretty much any competition type reality show (American Idol, The Bachelor, Dancing With The Stars, etc.)
Basketball is my least favorite sport and on top of that I hate college sports. I haven’t watched a single game of the March Madness. Even so I do follow sports news and am aware of who’s in the final four.

There are a lot of much smaller teams that are competitive in basketball than they are in football. Teams like Gonzaga, University of Connecticut, are not football powerhouses. It also spreads the love throughout the entire country, instead of the same, tired old teams in the football playoffs year after year. And there are always Cinderella stories (though not so many this year).

The single elimination makes every game exciting. There’s such an effort to get in…and then boom: over three quarters of the teams get knocked out on the very first weekend. No matter how good the team was during the season, all it takes is one slip-up and goodbye. Teams like Middle Tennessee State knock off talented favorites. The psychology, the drama, the luck… so many factors come into play.

This is always my favorite sporting event of the year. And if your team happens to get in and starts winning games, so much the better.

[Boldness added for emphasis.]

Gonzaga is not a football powerhouse but, to its credit, it hasn’t lost a football game since 1941.:wink:

I’m going to take a wild stab at it, and guess there’s a small chance the OP went to Northwestern.

My grandmother went to Northwestern. I went to Wentworth.

College basketball has always been popular. Remember, it predates the NBA by at least 20 years. (The main reason the NIT is still around is, before 1940, it was the de facto national college basketball championship.) Even the lack of incoming “superstars” in the years when the NBA could draft players right out of high school didn’t diminish its popularity.

IMO, its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years because of the invention of bracket pools - especially now that you can enter nationwide (actually, worldwide) ones online.

why do people like things I don’t like?

Ninja’d by PSXer, but this is the millionth thread about ‘why do people like things that I don’t’. It’s just another version of (admittedly extreme/sexist) ‘why do girls cut their hair short when I think it’s ugly’.

This is more of a "I don’t like sports and neither should you’ type thing.

I’m not a huge basketball fan, but do get into March Madness, especially the first weekend because of all the upsets and the last second shock finishes; this year I’m especially invested because Villanova is one hour away from my house, and originally from the Philly area I grew up rooting for any Big 5 team that made the tournament.

Another aspect I don’t think mentioned here yet is Bracket Guy. Millions fill out brackets to try to win office pools and online contests, so there’s another rooting interest. Outside of the United States? FF 2:00 to learn more:


And then, there is THIS unsung hero:


While it may be written that way, I still think it’s an interesting question. You hear a lot more about March Madness then you ever do about the NBA finals. Last year the NCAA final beat the NBA final by 5 million viewers. Compare that to football, where the first round alone of NFL playoffs were about the same as the NCAA championship. The AFC/NFC championship games beat it by over 20 million viewers.

It’s the first major gambling event since the Super Bowl.

Basketball is the great leveler. Because of the enormous, staggering, costs involved in maintaining a top tier football team, there is little chance that West Louisiana Agricultural College is ever going to be able to give the University of Alabama a game. No matter how hard they play, nor how spirited and motivated they are, the gulf is just going to be too big.

Basketball, on the other hand, is a much less expensive sport for a college to fund. There are less people, less equipment, less cost of maintenance for the playing facility, etc. It is a game where small, quick, and opportunistic can be enough to beat a top tier team. It is a game where stamina, desire, and heart can and do make a difference.

Every year there area few big name teams who take a swan dive against a small and relatively unknown team. It’s fun. Everybody loves to see David bring down Goliath a time or two.

It’s a fast moving game - at least these days it is. No more of the three-pass-then-shoot drills from the movie 'Hoosiers". Steals, fast breaks, buzzer beater threes, something going on every minute. And momentum rises and falls throughout the game and changes as often as the possession arrow. Sure sometimes there are blowouts, but there are less than you’d think given the disparity of the teams.

I’m meh on the NBA, but I love nothing more than the Big Dance. You will never see a greater effort put forth by the youth of this country than you will see during March Madness. Talent, fueled by passion, and propped up by athleticism. It’s intoxicating stuff.