By M. Jezzi
For any true basketball fan, we know that our passion goes beyond simply the NBA. Despite it being the major basketball tournament in the world, a true fan understands that the complexity of the game doesn't start all of a sudden. For the ones which aren't aware, for you to become a professional basketball player, you need – in most of the cases – to go through college. Yes, that's right. The NCAA, also known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is one of the world's most competitive university leagues in the world. Out of the 24 sports available, the one I will be looking today is Basketball. This league consists of 347 Division 1 teams, and they fight against each other throughout the whole year, until only 68 teams are left to fight to their deaths for the final prize: the trophy, and a dream.
The 68 teams are divided into regions, and according to their rankings, the committee tries to balance it out as much as possible. The point that I am trying to make is that this tournament – despite its small repercussion for some people – can be as exciting or even more than the NBA. The differential factor is simple: players are doing everything they can to have the chance to play in the Big Boy league: the NBA.
After the regular season goes by, the importance of the tournament begins to increase, and the promotion/hype starts to build up. National channels and social media accounts start to post their bets on the favourite teams, and most importantly, start to rank the best players for the next NBA draft. This period, which is actually happening right now, is known as the playoffs, or better known as March Madness. This is an elimination phase where teams battle to reach the grand finale. The best thing is that, even if there is a favourite team, the chances that they actually go on to win the tournament is small. A great example of this is the 2019 Duke, which, despite being the absolute favourites, were eliminated last week (31st of March). Players are willing to give everything they have to get a chance to stand on the spotlight, and hopefully, one day play on the grown-up's league.
Despite some controversy involving the tournament, I still personally believe that it is the most enjoyable and exciting basketball to watch. Just to imagine that most of the great players came from there, and many more are yet to come, makes me even more stoked for it. Players such as Michael Jordan, Kyrie Irving and many more have been a product of this league. Future prospects are being trained to one day hopefully take over the NBA, and make it an even better league! Thank You.