x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Getting ready for some March Madness

During the NCAA men's basketball selection show, viewers at home can see the real-time reaction from these teenagers and it will be either an ecstatic celebration or my-life-is-over misery.

Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane, right, is fouled by Baylor forward Rico Gathers during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the Big 12 Conference men's tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, March 15, 2014. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane, right, is fouled by Baylor forward Rico Gathers during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the Big 12 Conference men's tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, March 15, 2014. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Ahh, it is that time of year again.

The third Sunday in March may seem like a mundane day on the calendar for most people in the world. But back in the States, it is a celebratory time when the NCAA Div I men’s basketball brackets are revealed.

Yes, it is true. In America, we love college — ehh, I think the Brits fondly call it university — sports. And when you think about the country’s best, beautifully-blossoming, totally-innocent amateur athletes, there is no better time to catch them in action then when the brackets are announced.

Now if you have never seen the bracket announcement show, you should watch it. During the live broadcast, cheesy TV personalities that we have grown to love announce the 64 (or is it 68 now?) colleges teams that go to the Big Dance.

Of course, there are many who are already guaranteed a spot. Even if you have never watched a single college basketball game in your life, I’m sure you have heard of the teams from top-tier programs like Duke, Florida or UConn.

But this annual show is great to watch because there are plenty of teams “on the bubble”, which means they may or may not make it into the tournament.

What adds to the drama is that they get some of these “bubble” teams together — think lengthy 6-foot athletes lounging on couches here — and then they put a camera on them. That way, viewers at home can see the real-time reaction from these teenagers as the brackets are officially announced. It will be either an ecstatic celebration or my-life-is-over misery from teams like California, Arkansas, Dayton or Xavier when they finally realise their fate.

It sure does make for great television. Plus, one of the best tournaments in all of American sport starts a few days later.

agray@thenational.ae