March means many different things to many different people. It is a changing of the seasons, a changing of the guard. The end of summer and the start of autumn. In sporting terms, it spells the end of the domestic cricket and national basketball league seasons, and brings with it the onset of the AFL and Rugby (both Union and League) seasons.
However for a growing number of Australian basketball purists, March is the best time of the year when it comes to watching basketball. And yes it is people like me, that when March comes around each year, we show clear symptoms of what is now known as March Madness!
March Madness is in fact the American NCAA Division I college basketball finals, otherwise known as the "Big Dance". It is where the top 64 teams in college basketball come together to play for the national championship.
Unlike the NBA or our own NBL, college basketball is arguably the purist form of the game today, where games still comprise of two 20 minute halves, and teams play together as just that - a team. It is not all about "I", but it is about "we". It is a competition where there is more sense than dollars. The athleticism, passion, desire and of course skill is on show for all to see.
There is a clear Aussie connection as well. Australian Boomer Patty Mills and his Saint Mary's team made headlines throughout the US a week ago when their team was controversially ommitted from the tournament. West Australian 7'2" centre Luke Nevill guided his Utah Ute's - Andrew Bogut's old school - to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) championship as Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and MWC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Unfortunately his team was knocked out in the first round. And then there is Australian Sudanese refugee Ater Majok who is a non-playing member of number 1 seeded University of Connecticut...next season perhaps?
Many of the games are being telecast live or delayed on ESPN Australia on pay TV, and the soon to be launched One HD free to air channel will also be airing regional semi finas this coming week - so stay tuned! Alternative you can watch every game live online by clicking on this link HERE (and it's legal!).
And after two action packed rounds of upsets, amazing feats and great basketball action, I can officially confirm I have a severe bout of "March Madness".