The best 68
Sierra Canyon High School

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness has begun

From @marchmadness Twitter account
The best 68: This year’s March Madness teams seeded Number 1-68 overall. Photo from the @MarchMadness Twitter account

Starting today, Sierra Canyon’s college basketball fans will have their eyes glued to their electronic devices and TVs as alumni Parker Jackson-Cartwright (‘14) will play in 78th edition of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, also called “March Madness.” Last year, Jackson-Cartwright made it to the Elite Eight with the University of Arizona. This year, the Wildcats will play their first game on St. Patrick’s Day at 6:20 p.m. against the winner of the First Four game between Wichita State and Vanderbilt.

March Madness will be through the rest of the month and will end with the championship game on April 4. This year’s tournament proves to one of the most exciting and wildest editions of the tournament ever, according to NCAA.com. Exciting parts of the tournament each year include the big plays, bracketology (where people make brackets to predict the entire tournament’s outcome), and the huge upsets by some “Cinderella” teams.

“I’m excited for March Madness because it’s the most exciting time of the year for basketball. The basketball team is very close, so I’m sure that we will meet up outside of school to watch the games,” Sierra Canyon Varsity Boys Basketball player and junior Hunter Bleeden said.

Throughout the tournament, the TV in the Founders’ Union will turned on so students can watch games that are on during school hours, according to Upper School Director Tom Perry. In addition, students can live stream March Madness games and receive live updates by downloading the NCAA March Madness Live app on their phones and other electronic devices.

Since 2011, a total of 68 teams compete to win the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Title. Of the 68 participating teams, 31 teams receive an “automatic bid” to the tournament by winning their conference tournament (except for the Ivy League, whose regular season champion receives its automatic bid). Starting next season, the Ivy League will have a conference tournament to determine who gets its automatic berth, according to ESPN. The remaining 36 teams receive “at-large” bids by the 10-member NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee.

“Each member of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee evaluates a vast amount of information during selection process. Their opinions – developed through observations, discussions with coaches, directors of athletics and commissioners, and review and comparison of data – ultimately determine selections, seeding and bracketing,” NCAA.com said on it’s website regarding the selection of “at-large” teams.

Selection Sunday, usually held on the second Sunday of March, is when the remaining 36 teams are revealed. All 68 teams are seeded 1 to 16 in each of the four regions and 1 to 68 overall. The ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 are the conferences the most teams represented in March Madness with seven teams each in this year’s field. Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Oregon were seeded No. 1 in the South, East, Midwest, and West.

Two of the First Four Games, Florida Gulf Coast vs. Fairleigh Dickinson and Wichita State vs. Vanderbilt, will be broadcast from the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively on March 15.

Click here to see my 2016 March Madness Players to Watch List.

Below here are my lists of the best ten players to ever play in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, the Top Ten Most Memorable Moments of March Madness, and some March Madness fun facts:

Top Ten Players in March Madness History

  1. Lew Alcindor Jr. (UCLA, 1966-1969, 3 Final Fours, 3 Championships)
  2. Christian Laettner (Duke, 1988-1992, 4 Final Fours, 2 Championships)
  3. Bill Walton (UCLA, 1971-1974, 3 Final Fours, 2 Championships)
  4. Bill Russell (San Francisco, 1953-1956, 2 Final Fours, 2 Championships)
  5. Patrick Ewing (Georgetown, 1981-1985, 3 Final Fours, 1 Championship)
  6. Hakeem Olajuwon: (University of Houston, 1981-1984, 3 Final Fours)
  7. Bill Bradley (Princeton, 1962-1965, 1 Final Four)
  8. Michael Jordan (North Carolina, 1981-1984, 1 Final Four, 1 Championship)
  9. Jerry Lucas (Ohio State, 1959-1962, 3 Final Fours, 1 Championship)
  10. Magic Johnson (Michigan State, 1977-1979, 1 Final Four, 1 Championship)

 

Top Ten Memorable March Madness Moments:

  1. Christian Laettner’s game-winning shot (“The Shot”) vs. Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Final.
  2. NC State’s last minute dunk to upset Houston in the 1983 Championship Game.
  3. Chris Webber calls for a timeout when Michigan had none left in the 1993 Championship Game. Webber would get a technical foul and his timeout call handed North Carolina the 1993 March Madness title.
  4. Magic Johnson (Michigan State) vs. Larry Bird (Indiana State) in the 1979 Championship Game. This game was one the most watched college basketball games ever and started the rivalry between the two future Hall of Fame players.
  5. John Wooden wins his final game and championship for UCLA in 1975, the end of a the Wooden dynasty.
  6. Mario Chalmers’ three-pointer that sent the 2008 Championship Game into overtime. Chalmers and the Kansas Jayhawks would end up clinching the title.
  7. Wisconsin gets revenge by beating an undefeated Kentucky, 71-64 in the second 2015 Final Four Semifinal. Wisconsin lost to Kentucky in the same round the previous year 74-73.
  8. Michael Jordan’s game-winning Shot in 1982 Championship Game to give North Carolina a 63-62 win over Georgetown.
  9. Bill Walton’s “Perfect Game”
  10. George Mason’s Run to the Final Four in 2006.

 

Ten Fun Facts:

  • Only seven March Madness Championship Teams have won the tournament with an undefeated season. Those teams are University of San Francisco (1956), University of North Carolina (UNC) (1957), UCLA (1964, 1972, 1974), and Indiana University (1976).
  • Only 12 (13 but 1971 award was vacated) have won the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (MOP) despite being one of the three losing teams of the Final Four. The last person to this was Hakeem Olajuwon when the University of Houston Cougars lost to NC State Wolfpack in the 1983 Championship Game.
  • Luke Hancock is the only reserve player to ever win the Final Four MOP. He won the award in 2013 when he won the tournament with the Louisville Cardinals.
  • The University of Connecticut Huskies, four-time winners of March Madness, is the only college team to have both their men’s and women’s teams win the tournament in the same season, when both teams won in 2004. The Huskies would repeat the same feat again in 2014.
  • Rick Pitino is the only Men’s Basketball Coach to win March Madness with two different schools (1996 with Kentucky and 2013 with Louisville). In addition, Pitino is the only coach to reach the Final Four with three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville).
  • Only three people have won the NCAA Title as both a player and a coach: Joe B. Hall won in 1949 as a player for Kentucky and in 1978 as a coach for his alma mater; Bob Knight won in 1960 as a player for Ohio State and in 1976, 1981, and 1987 as a coach for Indiana; and Dean Smith won in 1952 as a player for Kansas and in 1982 and 1993 as a coach for North Carolina.
  • Larry Brown is the only head coach to win both an NCAA and NBA Title. He won his NCAA title in 1988 with Kansas and won his NBA title in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons.
  • As of 2015, Christian Laettner (Duke, 1989-1992), who is considered as one of the best players in college basketball history, still holds the March Madness records for the most tournament games played (23 out of a possible 24), games won (21), points (407), free throws made (142), and free throws attempts (167).
  • Laettner is also the only person to ever start four consecutive Final Fours. In addition, Laettner, along with teammates Brian Davis and Greg Koubek, are three of four people to ever play in four Final Fours.
  • 2008 was the first and only time to this date where all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four. Those teams were Memphis, Kansas, UCLA, and North Carolina.