March Madness is one of the most exciting times in college sports. It is estimated that 70 million brackets and $10.4 billion in bets are expected to be placed for the 2018 March Madness tournament and whether you’re rooting for the underdogs or betting on your favorite school to win the national championship, the excitement of March Madness will transcend to fans across the country.
While teams are preparing for this year’s upcoming tournament, people are already looking ahead to 2019, with excitement growing even stronger recently with the reveal of the 2019 Final Four logo. In 2019, the Final Four will be hosted in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the National Semifinal and the National Championship games will be played April 6-8. While the NCAA only began to use Final Four logos in the late 1970’s, logos have come to play a considerable part in revealing information about the venues, as well as graphic design trends. The logos also help to promote the event and distinguish between different Final Four years. 2019’s logo is clearly Minnesotan; behind the Final Four lettering is bright green trees that reflect the state’s unique landscape, the contrast is a bright orange basketball. The logo is eye-catching and vibrant, which is only fitting for the Final Four, the most exciting of crescendos in the March Madness tournament.
Over the years, March Madness and the Final Four has changed quite a bit. One of the most iconic moments in the March Madness tournament is Selection Sunday, in which D1 teams across the country sit on the edge of their seats in hopes of getting at-large bid for one of the 68 coveted spots in the tournament. However, this process did not exist until 1975; before 1975, only conference champions were put in the national tournament. After numerous seasons of teams with near-perfect seasons getting snubbed for their spot to compete for a national title over mediocre teams in mediocre conferences, the NCAA decided to admit at-large bids, thus creating the exciting process of Selection Sunday.
With at-large bids now in play, the National Championship is now fair game for many of the highly competitive teams across the country. With the 2018 regular season in full swing, everyone is trying to predict who will win the national championship. Even D3 basketball players in the middle of their busy seasons have opinions of who will win this year. JR Bascom, a senior on Wesleyan University’s men’s basketball team, thinks Duke will win. He says, “They have the second most dominant offense in the country this year which will allow them to score easily in the tournament. Even though they’re top heavy (their starting 5 plays a lot of minutes) that starting five is led by two dominant big men who have yet to be stopped this year.”
A Sophomore on Wesleyan’s team, Elijah Wilson, thinks differently, putting his faith in the University of Virginia: “Although amongst a lot of people I know, they are not really in conversation… a team who is top 5 in defensive field goal percentage in a Power 5 conference (ACC) and can produce big wins against big teams like Duke but also take care of business against teams they should beat… [has the] pieces and the IT factor which is what any ideal championship team should ideally have.”
With excitement building for March Madness, fans will be getting ready to tune into the college basketball tournament, and opinions will grow stronger. As the NCAA looks ahead to future years of Final Four tournaments, fans are more concerned with the now — who will win in 2018?
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Image courtesy of the NCAA