The Big Dance.
These terms, when grouped together, are commonly synonymous with the NCAA Basketball tournament.
While students, and teachers for that matter, look forward to the summer months when school is finally out of session, college basketball players around the country live for the month of March. The regular season concludes, the field of 65 is chosen and the fun officially begins.
It is the time when 65 teams will set out to capture the championship crown, and attempt to shine above the rest who fail to perform at a championship level.
The Rattlers, who earned a trip to the tournament last season with a MEAC Tournament championship win, failed to return for a second consecutive year after an 81-72 loss to Hampton in the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament.
Delaware State will represent the MEAC as a 16th seed in a first round match-up against the No.1 seeded Duke Blue Devils .
Even though the Rattlers will have to watch the tournament from home this year, Rattler forward Michael Ayodele said he will still pay attention to how the tournament will play out.
“It’s kind of hard at first because we’re not in it,” Ayodele said. “But I’ve been playing ball for five years, so that stuff really doesn’t affect me as much. I’ll still watch the tournament.”
FAMU squared off with No. 1 seeded Illinois early in the season and Ayodele said he wants to see how far they can actually go.
But he compared the Duke-DSU match-up with the first round game the Rattlers played against Kentucky in last year’s tournament where they put up a surprisingly good effort against the Kentucky Wildcats.
“Delaware State has a good team this year,” he said. “I’m not going to say they’re going to win, but I just don’t think Duke’s going to blow them out.”
His choice for national champion fell more along the lines of rooting for a good friend.
“I’m going to be biased and say Kansas, because my boy Wayne Simien is on their team,” Ayodele said. “He’s affiliated with the same church and I hope he does well.”
The chaos surrounding the tournament, however, is not exclusively reserved for those who lace up sneakers and take to the court.
It is also the time for fans and school supporters to put their basketball IQ, or lack thereof, to the test.
It is an opportunity for them to predict who will win, and who will fall from contention in the brackets.
Brandon Alexander, a third year business administration student from Columbus, Ohio, has his own set of picks to click.
“My sleeper team is Syracuse. Gerry McNamara is a consistent shooter, and I think he’s going to put that extra notch in come tournament time,” Alexander said. “I’m going with North Carolina to go all the way because of their guard play and they have a big man in Sean May down in the post.”
Kevin Marshall, a fourth year pharmacy student from Atlanta, begs to differ.
“North Carolina has the best starting lineup in college basketball, but they’re not coachable,” Marshall said. “I think they’re going to lose in the first weekend of the tournament. It’s going to be more upsets this year than in other years.”
Instead of hopping on the North Carolina bandwagon, Marshall said he likes either Oklahoma State or Arizona to win it all.
Everyone may have their own selective picks and ways of deciding who wins, but the actual winners won’t be known until the games are played.
The Final Four will be in St. Louis this year with the national champion bringing out the scissors to cut down the nets on April 4.
Contact Lemont Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org.