Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Neikrie’s Notes: Embrace the Madness

Neikrie’s Notes: Embrace the Madness

By Jamie Neikrie

There is no sporting event like the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sounds pretty boring with a name like that. But what makes The Big Dance the greatest sporting event in the world is the madness.

For all intents and purposes, college sports don’t really exist in New Zealand. Small, semi-competitive teams of willing players convene at one of the dozen or so universities, and occasionally they play each other with a decent level of competitiveness.

Not many people watch. There is no money at stake. No scholarships. No boosters. No rivalries. And most of all, no tournament.

College sports in the United States are a different animal. It features the best fans, the best sporting venues, the most historic rivalries, and the fiercest competition.

When you combine the revenue and publicity of every major college team across NCAA Division 1, college football and basketball dwarf every other North American sporting league, professional or not.

On an individual game basis, college football is probably bigger. But college football doesn’t have March Madness. It simply can’t compete.

There are 32 divisions for Men’s Basketball teams, comprising 347 teams. Every March, each division hosts its own conference, with the best teams from the conference making the tournament.

In one week you have the Big East Tournament, the Big 12 Tournament, the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, and 29 others, hundreds of games featuring the best teams in the country, playing out over a few days. On the line? A chance to prove what kind of a team you are. To prove that you are among the best. To prove that you can put on your dancing shoes.

Then comes Selection Sunday, when teams gather at their coach’s house, watching as the ten-member selection committee decides which 68 teams will make the tournament (there’s also the NIT Tournament for the next 68 best teams, in case you can’t get enough basketball), where they will be ranked on a scale of 1-16, who and where they will have to play, and the path to victory that their résumé merits. It is a painstaking, controversial process that inevitably creates as many losers as it does winners. But the chaos only makes the tournament that much better.

Finally, The Big Dance begins. 65 games will be played two weeks, with a champion being crowned on April 7 this year. Nate Silver and ESPN go to work calculating the statistical outcome of every game, Barack Obama fills out his own bracket, and Warren Buffett offers $1 billion to anyone who can get every game right.

Barring an absolute miracle, no one will, because no one knows what will happen. That’s the beauty. Every year there’s a Cinderella team that overcomes statistics, eye tests, rankings, and every other measurement to defy expectations. Every year there is a player who transcends the college basketball, taking his team to new heights. And every year, there is Madness. Sweet, sweet Madness.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Leonard Cohen

If Bob Dylan owned the 1960s, Leonard Cohen was an inescapable presence during the early 1970s period, pre-disco and pre-punk. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Pick And Camera

Through the eyes of a miner – the photography of Joseph Divis: The occupations of miner and photographer are seldom combined. The conjunction must have been very rare indeed in the era before hand-held cameras, high-speed film and flashlights More>>


Howard Davis: Review - The Cosmic Dance Of 'String Theory'

Fly My Pretties sixth album is quite possibly their best yet - a concept album in the best sense, with superb arrangements, funky grooves, and some great vocalizing, all organized around the lyrical leitmotif of string theory. More>>

Non-Natural History: Dinosaur Eggs 'Discovered' At Auckland Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens plant curators have unearthed what are thought to be prehistoric dinosaur eggs in the Gondwana Forest section of the expansive garden in Manurewa... In fact, the “dinosaur eggs” are part of an innovative, larger-than-life dinosaur performance and display featuring a raptor, a crested therapod and a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex. More>>

For The Birds: Kōkako Crowned Bird Of The Year

The Kōkako has been crowned New Zealand's Bird of the Year after two weeks of close competition and heated campaigning. More>>

ALSO:

  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news