While strolling the city streets this month, you’ve probably been wondering why there is so much buzz about college basketball and, what exactly “March Madness” really is.
March madness is the time of year the annual National College Athletic Association (NCAA) college basketball tournament takes place. Whether your college is top-seeded or you’re simply in it for the social scene, here are the top 5 terms to know while watching (and betting on!) the big games:
- “Selection Sunday”: The Sunday (March 15th) when the NCAA Tournament Selection committee reveals the Tournament Bracket on CBS. All of America, and all 351 teams in Division 1 College Basketball, watch to see which 68 teams made the cut.
- “Seed”: No, this isn’t something you plant in your backyard, it’s a fancy word for “ranking.” The NCAA Tournament Selection committee assigns each team in the tournament a seed based on how good each team is. Teams are split into 4 regions and seeded from #1 to #16. In the first round of the tournament the #1 seed plays the #16 seed in each region, the #2 plays the #15, and so on….
- “Final Four”: If a team loses 1 game, it is out of the tournament. Eventually, only 16 teams remain – the “Sweet Sixteen”. These 16 teams go head-to-head in 8 games, producing 8 survivors – the “Elite Eight”. These 8 teams play head-to-head in 4 games, reducing the surviving teams to 4 – the “Final Four”. The last 2 remaining teams play each other for the Tournament Championship.
- “Region”: The tournament is split into four Regions: (1) East, (2) South, (3) Midwest, and (4) West. Regions stay the same each year, and dictate the area of the country where Regional Semifinals and Finals are played.
- “Bracket Buster”: A lower-seeded team that beats a higher-seeded team in the early rounds of the tournament, leading to most people’s brackets being completely ruined, or “busted,” if they had that higher-seeded team advancing far in the tournament. Another word for a team like this is a “Cinderella,” as these teams have achieved far greater success than was expected of them. Cinderella’s are a big reason why the term “March Madness” was coined to describe the exciting, unpredictable, and often maddening nature of the tournament.
So now that you have all of the proper terminology to join in on the March Madness conversation, here are New York City’s 10 Best Sports Bars if you’re looking to join the basketball fan scene (second-third rounds are tonight!):
- Blondies: 212 West 79th Street, Upper West Side
- Back Page: 1472 3rd Avenue, Upper East Side
- Jimmy’s Corner: 140 West 44th, Theatre District
- Phebe’s Tavern: 359 Bowery Street, East Village
- Lansdowne Road: 599 10th Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen
- Dram Shop: 339 9th Street, Brooklyn
- Nevada Smiths: 74 3rd Avenue, East Village
- Standings: 43 East 7th Street, East Village
- The RedHead NYC: 349 East 13th Street
- Bleecker Heights: 296 Bleecker Street, West Village
Enjoy and have fun! Happy “March Madness!”