Marquette, MI – March 8, 2017 – Sports come and go with the seasons. Instead of looking at a calendar, one can simply tell what time of the year it is by looking at what sport is currently in their season. Football is in full swing? Look out the window and you’ll see that the leaves have changed colors. Justin Verlander is taking the mound against the Royals? There is a good chance you can walk outside in shorts and a T-Shirt. Sports generally go with a season, and not a particular month. But there is one exception, and it is the beautiful month of March.
March is perhaps my favorite month of the year. I have made it through the dreaded, bitterly cold month of February. The days are beginning to get longer. The sun seems to shine a little brighter. Grass starts showing its face from beneath the thick coat of white snow. The breeze starts to feel a little bit warmer.
And most importantly, you get college basketball games beginning at noon.
Once the calendar turns to March, the fight for a bid in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament heats up. This week is Championship Week, one of the greatest weeks of the year. Conference’s begin their tournaments, with the winners receiving automatic bids into the tournament. The tension is high, and high quality basketball filled with emotion can be seen 10 hours per day.
Most think of the tournament when they hear the term “March Madness.” But the conference tournaments cannot be discounted.
One of the greatest runs in college basketball history, began in a conference tournament. In 2011 the UConn Huskies went on a historical run to win the Big East tournament, winning 5 games in 5 days, defeating 4 nationally ranked teams on the way. UConn then continued their success in the Big Dance, winning all 6 games, en route to a National Championship. Teams find their stride in March.
After the conference tournaments wrap up, comes one of the most drama-filled events that doesn’t involve games there is. Selection Sunday is filled with joy, elation, and disappointment. Teams on the bubble who did not win their conference tournaments to receive an automatic bid, sit and wait with anticipation, hoping they will see their school pop up in the bracket reveal. You almost feel as if you are part of the team when the school shows up in the bracket and the live-look in shows the team erupt in joy.
This all leads up to the greatest 3 weeks in sports. When the tournament begins on Thursday next week, the ensuing four days are sure to filled with drama. Top seeds being upset. Another double digit seed Cinderella making it to the Sweet 16. Buzzer beaters. Historic performances. This all leads through the end of March, to the Final Four the first weekend in April.
There is nothing about the month of March that isn’t great. It is arguably the greatest sports month of the year. Grab your buddies, your favorite snacks and beverages, and kick back. March is finally here.