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64 reasons why I love March Madness

On my living room wall is a small, orange felt banner with “SYRACUSE” proudly displayed across the top. The swatch of felt commemorates the Orangemen’s 2003 run to the Final Four and national championship. It lists every score of every game during their impressive 2002-03 season in which they went 30-5 in the season. The final play of their season stands out to me the most – Hakim Warrick’s block on Kansas’ Michael Lee in the closing seconds to secure Jim Boeheim’s first ever championship.

Since then, I’ve accrued plenty more March Madness memories, especially since I started college and have the entire first week of the tournament off school (hello spring break!) It’s safe to say I love this time of year, and here are my 64 reasons why.

  1. Charles Barkley commercials
  2. Charles Barkley
  3. Watching games in my boxers
  4. One Shining Moment montage after the final game
  5. The POTUS’ bracket
  6. The Shockers (better luck next year!)
  7. Shaka Smart (tough way to go out, coach)
  8. Revising your bracket three or four times to get it just right
  9. Predicting an upset
  10. Buzzer-beaters
  11. Buzzer-beaters in overtime
  12. Buzzer-beaters in double overtime
  13. The moment you realize how busted your bracket is two hours into the tournament
  14. Clark Kellogg’s voice
  15. The pan-shot of a pep band before commercial break
  16. Papa John’s commercials sans Peyton Manning
  17. Perennially good Jesuit schools (see: Xavier, Marquette, ‘Zags)
  18. Little-known players taking over games
  19. The sudden proliferation of university apparel around town
  20. Rooting for a team you didn’t know existed at the beginning of the week
  21. Discount televisions, pizzas, and home furniture
  22. Basketball-themed monuments of Coke and Pepsi twelve packs in the grocery stores
  23. Trying to sound out Mike Krzyzewski
  24. The No. 1 seed going down
  25. The CBS tune (da-da-da-da-da-daaaaaaa-daaa-daaaa)
  26. Super fans/truant college students in ridiculous costumes
  27. The bandwagoners
  28. Mom/Dad/Girlfriend reaction shots to pivotal play
  29. Ally-oops from half court
  30. Jay Bilas commercials
  31. Heeding the advice of a bracketologist the same way you would an osteologist or hematologist
  32. The surprisingly identical Final Four logo from year to year
  33. Past Great Alaska Shootout participants beating a two-seed (see: Middle Tennessee)
  34. Alternative online brackets like “The Greatest Living Americans Bracket”
  35. The fact the championship game is on a Monday night which means an otherwise regular week just got a little bit more exciting
  36. The incredibly reliable 5-seed/12-seed first round upset
  37. Coaches actin’ a foul
  38. Coaches really actin’ a foul
  39. Post game locker room celebrations
  40. The occasional history lesson (who was Stephen F. Austin?)
  41. Blue mascots (Blue Devils and Blue Raiders)
  42. Red mascots (Red Raiders)
  43. Green mascots (Irish)
  44. The unlikely heroes (and villains)
  45. The NCAA reminding us every commercial timeout that “99% of student-athletes will go pro in something other than sports.”
  46. The lexicon of color commentators
  47. Dicky Veeeeeeee!!!
  48. The Sports Illustrated cover
  49. The Wheaties box featuring the championship team
  50. Controversial calls (he was clearly out-of-bounds!!)
  51. “The Shot” (Duke vs. Kentucky)
  52. Celebrity brackets (why do we care?)
  53. Googling what ever happened to so-and-so from March Madness past
  54. The pseudo-confidence you conjure up when filling out a bracket
  55. Jumping up and down in exaltation after your team wins
  56. The Cinderella Story
  57. The Cinderella Story that wasn’t
  58. Emotional post-game interviews
  59. The immediate cloaking of championship swag on the winning team after the final buzzer
  60. Gus Johnson’s calls
  61. It’s an excuse to wear my Brandon Triche Syracuse jersey
  62. It signals the beginning of the end of the semester
  63. Half court swishes
  64. The player-coach embrace after victory

Written by Nolin Ainsworth