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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEditor’s Note:  This isn’t Fashion, But it’s important…. 

Do you have a relationship with a March Madness Fan? Feeling a little out of it when the M2 conversations start up? Don’t understand how it works, what it means? You are not alone (but almost…)

Here are the numbers (and other stuff) you need to know and a few hints of what you might want to say over a beer while watching someone else watch the game:

4/4/16 – This may be the most important number to remember, especially when planning social events! March Madness begins in mid-March, but don’t forget that it always ends in April (this year April 4-Note that “March-April Madness” was rejected by the NCAA’s marketing department.) Social events should NOT be scheduled on the nights of April 2 (a Saturday) or April 4.   Your MM Fan will be glued to the TV.

64 – As in “The Field of 64” –This is the number of teams that make the tournament (actually, there are two recently-added “play in games” but let’s save that for the follow up post). Back in the Day – when many BA50’s were in college – the field was 24.   The NCAA and CBS needed more games to televise and NCAA pool operators needed more alma maters for people to root for, so over the years the field has been expanded to 64.

16 – As in “The Sweet Sixteen.” The Thursday through Sunday weekend (March 24-27) is “MM Nirvana.” This is when the 16 teams that survive the first four days of play are reduced to 4 teams (the Final Four – see April 2-4 above and “The Final Four” below).

16 – Toss this one around at a party, and you will be recognized as knowledgeable, if not an aficionado: “No ‘16 seed’ has ever beaten a ‘1 seed.’” What does it mean? The field is divided into 4 regional brackets – with the teams “seeded” just like at Wimbledon. The four worst teams are therefore “16 seeds” and they play the “1 seed” in their bracket. The “15 seeds” play the “2 seeds”, etc., etc. Teams are referred to by their seed – as in “Wisconsin is a 1.” No “16” has ever beaten a “1”.

15 – As in “a 15.” Every couple of years, a “15” knocks off a “2 ” – and you get to see 5 relatively short guys, who go to a school you’ve never heard of, celebrate… while the big boys, from Kansas or Duke (or some other school whose tee shirt your kid wears,) cry and put towels over their heads.   Note that the coach of the “15” then gets a job offer at a much bigger “Program” (they are not colleges or universities – they are called “Programs” because they have little if anything to do with the schools.)

8 – As in “the Elite 8” – these are the teams that make it to the final weekend. Although not as catchy as “Sweet Sixteen” – it has to be done.

4 – As in “The Final Four” – perhaps you’ve heard of this term – if you haven’t, you are too far behind the curve to catch up.   These are the teams that will play on April 4, with the two winners going to the championship game on April 4.

2 – As in “there are 2 teams we can all root against” (unless you are from Oklahoma or Kentucky). Following the Oklahoma SAE fraternity performance of last week – can anyone root for the Sooners? Kentucky is the other pariah and that’s based on their coach, John Calipari being an habitual cheat who coached UMass and Memphis State in the tournament in years past, and left both schools for better jobs right before the schools (and his players) were banned from NCAA tournament play for varying lengths of time. In any discussion not taking place in Kentucky, it is safe to say – “I can’t root for any team Calipari coaches,” and you get points for knowing your MM stuff. Not surprisingly, 2 is also the number of people not from Kentucky – or not alumns or relatives of alumns – who will be rooting for Kentucky.

2 – The minimum number of entries most MM fans complete in their NCAA Tournament pool – one for the team they think will win the title as champs and one for the school they or their tuition money went to.

1 – The tournament is a single elimination tournament – or as the hoopsters say – “win or go home.”

0 – The players in this tournament don’t get paid (or at least they’re not supposed to). They make 0 dollars. A small number of them will strike it rich in the NBA and a slightly larger number will actually take advantage of the $150K education they are provided in return for their play.

And finally – 6 – the number of games a team has to win in the tournament to win the title and “cut down the nets” (which they actually do when they win).

Enjoy The Dance (as it’s called).

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