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Tears, Sweat, No Regrets.

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Every March, millions of people sit in front of their TVs and hysterically shout for their favorite college basketball team. In March, when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) holds its annual men’s collegiate basketball tournament, the national championship will be fanatically fought for by 64 college basketball teams.

This single-elimination tournament consists of 64 teams, geographically divided into four parts, striving to survive three weekends of games to achieve the supreme national title.

The highly intense nature of the tournament is mostly explained by the rule of single-elimination.The effort a team has put in the entire season solely depends on one game. Every possession matters immensely, and there is little knowing who will come out on top.

As the uncertainty grows, millions of fans from all over the country focus their attention entirely on their team and will very possibly undergo tremendous sadness, for only one team will triumph when the final buzzer sounds. Thus, the term “March Madness” accurately describes the amount of excitement that will accumulate as the elimination process proceeds.

However, even at the end of the regular season, which is always around late February, the madness begins to kick in as the contender teams battle for a better record heading into March. The higher a team is seeded in its regional league, the low- er-seeded the team they will play first in the NCAA tournament.

According to ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index,Virginia Cavaliers,Villanova Wildcats and Purdue Boilermakers are re- spectively the top three teams in the nation currently.

The de ning moment that secured the top spot for the Cavaliers was their win against Duke, in which Cavaliers’s highly praised defense helped them to eventually triumph 65-63.

Even though Marvin Bagely III, the 6-11 freshman power forward for Duke, had a big game of 30 points, the Cavaliers show- cased more teamwork, with four players scoring double-digits. The Cavaliers’ unexpected standing as the first-seeded team proves how unpredictable even the regular season can get. Their disciplined defensive executions make up for their relatively less talented roster. At the beginning of the season, they were not highly regarded. In fact, they were picked to fnish sixth in their conference, but they ended up finishing first.

On the other hand, disappointments appeared as well.With the return of their 6-foot-7-inch sophomore shooting guard Miles Bridges and the recruitment of 6-foot-11-inch freshman power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State was expected to be among the top of the list at the end of the season. However, turnover issues greatly damaged their season’s course, despite their outstanding talents.

Laguna senior Aidan O’Donnell enjoys March Madness and
fills out a bracket, which is a table designed for participants to predict the winners of every single game, including the final champion. However, the chances of filling out a perfect bracket is extremely low — 1 in 9.2 quintillion.“I don’t have any bracketology so I just guess, but my older brother Pierce is really into it. In fact, he once successfully predicted the winner of a semi-final game.”

O’Donnell expects a bunch of nail-biting games coming up.“It should be good this year. In the previous years, the games usually come down to the last two minutes, which is de nitely the best part.This year will be no different.”

The madness in the tournament is imminent.When the best of the best directly wrestle each other, all of the previous statistics and predictions will not matter. Only heart and determination will. Everyone will experience the unimaginable passion and excitement brought by basketball, brotherhood,

and team spirit. For every team that steps into the arena, there might be tears, there might be bad blood, there might be the greatest joy they will have ever felt, but there will be no regrets.

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