March Mental Illness

I’m not much of a basketball fan, but you’d have to be out cold not to notice all the bracket-related hoop-la every March. One thing that has always struck me as odd about the NCAA tournament, though, is that to a disinterested observer, the point of the whole thing seems to be the semi-finals. The entire nation gets itself, for some curious reason, into such a tumescent state of arousal over the antepenultimate “Final Four” that the Final Two, and the Final One, seem to be, more or less, merely an afterthought. This is, as far as I know, unique in the world of sport, and if anyone cares to explain it to me I will be most grateful.

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  1. Tom says

    (Little slow on the draw here, I know…)

    I think it’s a product of the way the tournament is structured: as three “weekend batches” of matchups. (Weekend one is the “final” 64 and 32; weekend two is the final 16 and 8; weekend three — the big one — is the final four and two.)

    Where there’s a long week of anticipation and hype leading up to that final Saturday of games — with its four contenders — there’s just a day and a half heading into the Monday championship. So the “Final Four” has naturally sucked up more of the media oxygen, simply by virtue of time and volume, even if it’s not actually considered the more important leg of the event.

    Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:48 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    A very reasonable analysis. Thanks, Tom!

    Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink