“The ball is tipped / And there you are / You're running for your life / You're a shooting star / And all the years / No one knows / Just how hard you worked / But now it shows... / (In) One Shining Moment, it's all on the line / One Shining Moment, there frozen in time.” This is the beginning of the song One Shining Moment. This tune became associated with March Madness, also known as the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Tournament, after it was played for the first time after the championship game in 1987. Its lyrics perfectly encapsulate the single-elimination, high-stakes event. The tournament is the playoff event of college basketball and sixty-eight teams, both men’s and women’s, compete for the title. The first NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament took place in 1939 and had only eight teams. The first year with sixty-four teams was in 1985, and the first year with sixty-eight was in 2011. The women’s tournament was first held in 1982 and kept expanding its number of teams until it reached 68 in 2022.

The March Madness season starts on Selection Sunday when a panel chooses the teams who will compete in the tournament and their respective seeds. 32 teams automatically get into the tournament by winning their conference championships. The committee chooses the other 36. After Selection Sunday, the games begin. The First Four is a play-in round containing two sets of 12 seeds and two sets of 16 seeds. The winner of those games joins the 60 other teams in the bracket. Over the course of two days, the teams are narrowed down and progressively move into the Round of 32, then the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite 8, the Final Four, and finally, the Championship Game.

There have been many crazy moments in the NCAA tournament. First, there have been two 16 over-1 seed upsets in March Madness. The first was in 2018 when the University of Maryland, Baltimore County beat the University of Virginia, and the second was just last year in 2023 when Fairleigh Dickinson University beat Purdue. Another incredible moment took place two years ago, during iconic Coach Krzyzewski’s last season. During that season’s March Madness, his team, Duke, played their rival, the University of North Carolina (UNC) for the first time in the NCAA tournament. UNC was the underdog, a #8 seed, and Duke was a #2 seed. UNC won 81-77, sending Coach K home after his final game with a loss to his rival. Lastly, an era-defining event occurred when UCLA went on its NCAA tournament win streak of seven, from 1967 to 1973.

One of the most fun parts of March Madness is the bracket challenge. To sign up, spectators can visit play.ncaa.com or download the March Madness Live App. Once you log in, you can create a bracket, join groups, and more. As of last year, there is also a women’s bracket challenge. Selection Sunday is on March 17th, the First Four is on March 19-20, and the Round of 64 is on March 21-22. Because many good schools were left out or had lower seeds in the last tournament, this year's March Madness is sure to be an exciting watch. If you need something to do over spring break, turn on your TV after 12 p.m. to enjoy one of the most exciting games in basketball.