Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

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March Madness Overview

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Connecticut players celebrate after beating SDSU in the national championship on April 3rd 2023 (Godofredo A. Vasquez/AP)

Every year from the middle of March to the beginning of April the most highly anticipated collegiate event takes place. Sunday, March 17 2024 is the official release of this year’s March Madness bracket where 68 teams find out they are playing in this year’s tournament. For the three weeks following games will be played until only one team stands and is crowned the 2024 college basketball champion.

At Large vs Auto Bids

College basketball is made up of 32 different conferences, each with its own conference tournament. At the end of the regular season, most teams in Division 1 play in their conference tournament. The winner of each one earns what is called an auto bid. This means they automatically make the March Madness tournament. Many of these teams come from low-level conferences that usually only send one team to the Big Dance (March Madness tournament). Hingham High School student Mac Corey believes “This is a big reason why I love this tournament. It is one of the few sports that truly gives everyone a chance. Even small schools have their opportunity come March”. After the 32 tournaments are over there are 36 open spots left. Each one of the remaining teams are hoping for an at-large bid which means a committee chooses them to fill the rest of the spots.

The Play-In

To start the tournament there are 68 teams in the field. One Tuesday and Wednesday 8 teams will play each other to cut off the teams to 64. Four of these teams have earned automatic bids from low level conferences and are battling to get one of two open 16 seed positions. The other four teams are at large bids fighting to earn a position as 11 seeds. 

The Bracket

The bracket now consists of 64 teams. It is split into four quadrants of the bracket each containing 16 teams. The 16 teams are split into 16 different seeds. This leads to there being 4 teams at each seed level in the tournament. The teams will play a one game elimination tournament and for most teams to win the championship they will have to win 6 games in the tournament.

Fan Fun

Many people’s favorite march of March Madness is the participation of the fans. Once the brackets are released on Selection Sunday many mobile apps will release an interactive bracket that allows fans to choose who will move on in each round. This gives viewers that have no connections to teams a reason to watch. Although many people make their bracket hoping to be the first ever perfect bracket, the odds of flipping a coin and predicting every correct matchup is lower than 1 in every 9 trillion. At least for people taking educated guesses it jumps to 1 in 120.2 billion. Even with these low odds fans like Hingham High Schools Henry Sellers says, “I make a bracket every year knowing it won’t be perfect. I barely know anything about basketball, but it’s the idea that I’m interacting with the games and I feel like I am a part of it”.

Unc Asheville players reacting after finding out who they will be playing in the 2023 March Madness tournament (Angela Wilhelm/USA Today Sports)
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