The Basketball Bond: Students should appreciate the bonding experience that March Madness creates


Caleb Shaffer

Every march, fans come together for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness. One of my favorite parts about this time of year is how close it brings me to my peers. I am a naturally competitive person; I always have had a desire to win, and when I watch March Madness, that competitive spirit is at an all-time high. My friends and I usually root for hometown teams such as Indiana, Purdue or Butler throughout the tournament, and we gather together on the weekends to support our teams. My favorite March Madness memory so far has been Butler’s run to the 2011 National Championship game. I remember sitting in my friend’s living room on the edge of my seat as Butler narrowly defeated Florida in the Elite Eight 74-71 when Shelvin Mack hit a clutch three-pointer in overtime to win the game.
Another reason I enjoy tournament season is because of the excitement surrounding the tournament right before it starts. Whenever the official brackets are released, I spend hours researching analyses and odds on which teams have the best chance of winning and make my bracket based off of those predictions. After I make that bracket, I devise other methods based off of chance using methods like a coin flip. When you make your bracket, you maintain a little sliver of hope that yours could potentially be the perfect bracket—that you predicted every matchup correctly and there’s a chance that you might be psychic. I remember that hope turning into reality when Middle Tennessee State did the impossible and beat the No.2 ranked Michigan State in the tournament.
Despite the many ways that you can determine how the tournament might play out, it is important to remember to enjoy the games and the tournament. A big thing that people do during this time of year is worry so much about what they have invested in tournaments that they forget to enjoy the tournament itself. Basketball is a sport my friends, family and I have a deep love for, and during the month of March, I believe it’s very important to remember that watching NCAA sports is truly about enjoying competition at it’s finest with the people you care about.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Caleb Shaffer at
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