March Madness is the best sporting event in America. While many sport fans may not agree with my opinion, I maintain—not Super bowl weekend, NBA All-Star weekend, nor the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby can be compared to March Madness.

The gruesome three-week long, “win-or-go-home tourney” is in full effect.

March Madness is the greatest spectacle in sports because the players are fully-vested; they don’t play with egos, contracts, or shoe deals but for the pure love of the game of basketball and the school logos on their jerseys.

For all the spontaneity and drama of the Tournament, the player’s emotions are raw, uncut, and authentic. For most student-athletes who get to players play in the Tournament, this is the biggest stage of their lives. Ninety percent of these players will not be turning pro, so they have to make the best of this opportunity. When players yell, hug, and cry fans know it’s not pretentious but genuine.

This year the NCAA Tournament has been extended to 68 teams. The Tournament officially kicks off on Tuesday March 19, 2013.

The "First Four" or “play-in games” will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19 and 20 in Dayton Ohio (University of Dayton). The Second and Third rounds will take place March 21-24 at the following locations:

Second and Third Rounds: Thursday and Saturday, March 21 and 23

  • Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI - Host: Oakland University
  •  Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY - Host: University of Kentucky
  • Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT - Host: University of Utah
  • HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA - Host: West Coast Conference

Second and Third Rounds: Friday and Sunday, March 22 and 24

  • Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX Host: Texas
  • University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH Host: University of Dayton
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO Host: TBD
  • Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA Host: Temple University

The Sweet Sixteen takes place on March 28 and 29 prior to the Elite Eight (which with will be played on March 30 and 31 at venues to be determined):

Regionals: Thursday and Saturday, March 28 and 30

  • Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA Host: Pepperdine University
  • TBD Host: TBD

Regionals: Friday and Sunday, March 29 and 31

  • Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX Host: Big 12 Conference
  • Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN Host: Butler, IUPUI, Horizon League

This year’s Final Four will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday April 6, with the NCAA Championship Game being played on Monday April 8.

The Biggest Surprise coming Out of Selection Sunday, was Louisville getting the No. 1 overall Seed. The other three Regional No. 1 seeds are: Kansas, Indiana, and Gonzaga.

Despite winning the ACC Tourney, the Miami Hurricanes got snubbed of a No. 1 Seed. Some pundits are surprised Middle Tennessee State got into the NCAA Tournament over Kentucky despite the Wildcats has a better RPI (I am not surprise). The defending National Champions Kentucky Wildcats did not deserve to make the Tournament this year.

Other Noteworthy Headlines Coming out of Selection Sunday

In addition to Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Iowa, Southern Miss., Alabama, and Tennessee did not make the Tournament; while Boise State and La Salle got in.

The Atlantic-10 (everybody’s Cinderella Conference) is sending five teams dancing: Butler, VCU, Saint Louis, Temple and La Salle.

One thing is for sure, while we may not agree with all the teams that made the field of 68, it will be a fund-pack, three weeks of intense, exciting of College Basketball. March Madness is in full effect—get your brackets ready.

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