Thursday, March 17, 2016

March Madness

The sports world has become a world of what ifs, assumptions, and picking winners here and there. With sports news streaming 24/7 there is never an end to the constant questions.

With that, it's that time of year again. The time where legacies are made, dreams are fulfilled, and most importantly hearts are broken. The biggest question looming is who will it be this year?Which team will be upset by a mid major school, from a mid major conference? Recent history proves that it is inevitable that at some point within the first few rounds someone will shock the world. Someone will, even if just for one day, forever etch their name in the history books.

In order to truly appreciate just what March Madness is lets take a trip down memory lane.
We will go back to 2013, where 15 seeded Florida Gulf Coast (Also a participant this year) took down the mighty Hoyas of Georgetown (2 Seed). Or 2014 where Mercer (14) shocked the world defeating Duke(3). As recent as last year (2015), 14 seeds Georgia State and UAB, both won over three seeds in Baylor and Iowa State. The list goes on, and as long as there has been a tournament, which was expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there have always been upsets.

The question is how do you predict it? This year the predictions are out, with the Duke Blue Devils taking a lot of heat in their matchup against UNC-Wilmington. Baylor and Iowa State have also been listed as potential "Bracket Busters" in this years tourney. However, are these simple picks based on upsets these teams have felt the past few years? Or is this a fair assessment based on the two teams that are going to face one another in the coming days? If one thing is for sure, talent, prestige, and history do not mean anything to the gods of March Madness. Where any and every team is susceptible to an early scare or a heartbreaking loss.

Another big question that always looms when March Madness comes around, is when will a 16 seed take down a number one seed? Up until this point one seeds are 124-0 against 16 seeds, but with the madness that takes place in the tournament it is a matter of time before a 1 seed falls. This could be the year, as no team has emerged as a clear cut favorite, or even a top tier one seed as in years past. The field is more even than ever, and its time to check out the madness.

What does March Madness mean for social media? Well here are a few stats from 2013, the year where, as discussed before, Florida Gulf Coast upset Georgetown and surged to the Sweet 16, as well as La Salle's team taking their 13 seed, and a "play-in- game" and riding the momentum to the Sweet 16. When Florida Gulf Coast sealed their bid to the Sweet 16, they blew up on Twitter with 206,000 mentions, as well as 268,651 after their win over Georgetown. They even became known as #DunkCity to many on multiple social media platforms, as well as being the most googled phrase the next day. La Salle also exploded on Twitter with their upset tournament run, grabbing over 30,000 mentions in nearly no time after a win clinching a berth in the Sweet 16. As a whole, Twitter exploded in March of 2013, with 19,677,291+ mentions of 'March Madness', with 1.3 billion impressions, and their hashtag #MarchMadness added 1,257,441+ mentions and led to an impressive 2.5 impressions. Along with mentions and hashtags, the official @MarchMadness account gained 64,176 followers on March 1, 2013 and grew to 113,586 by mid-month, a 76.99% increase. Today it has over 450K followers, so imagine the footprint it will leave this year, as Social Media takes a stronger hold within the sports world.

With Social Media growing, and the March Madness season as popular as ever, this year is sure to impress. It will be gut wrenching for die hard fans, and amusing for hated rivals. Twitter will explode on a daily basis, and the more upsets that there are the more it will take off. Everyone loves a cinderella, and this year has the make up to produce one. Who will be this years Butler? Florida Gulf Coast? That is what makes this time of year so much fun: the mystery, passion, and last second games. It's checking Twitter continuously to make sure that your pick is still up on their competition, and the thought of you potentially winning your office bracket.

March Madness: is about the chance that your team will get to be apart of "The One Shining Moment."

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