More madness

Aaron Waldman, Sports Editor

Around this time of year, millions of fan get excited about the NCAA tournament for men’s and women’s basketball known as March Madness which consists of 68 teams. The tournament is often full of upsets, buzzer-beaters and Cinderella stories (unexpected teams that makes a run).

The excitement of March Madness inevitably makes its way into schools, including basketball-crazy CESJDS. One of the ways that students and staff participate in March Madness is competing in brackets, including one run by the Sports Analytics Club. Some teachers even capitalize on students’ interest and find ways to pull the topic into the classroom.

One of the prime examples of March Madness being incorporated in a class is by Robert Shorr, a high school math teacher and the Jewish Life Chair. March Madness and the probability unit for his calculus class occur around the same time, so Shorr integrates them into his teaching, and he holds a debate within class to find the best math concept or idea that the class has learned. 

“It increases math enthusiasm,” Shorr said. “I just love seeing [students] react to [math] in a different way after they spend a lot of the year complaining.”

Outside of school, the men’s tournament is available to watch on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV, and the women’s tournament is available on the ESPN family of networks. The 2022 NCAA tournament averaged 10.7 million viewers per game, which was a 13% increase from the previous year according to the NCAA. 

Among those viewers will be junior Ethan Safra, the president of the Sports Analytics Club.

“College basketball is just a fun sport. It’s so competitive with so many upsets,” Safra said. “It’s just so fun seeing how it turns out. You can’t even describe it.”

This year, the men’s tournament begins on March 14 and concludes on April 3 in Houston. The women’s tournament starts on March 15 and ends on April 2 in Dallas.

“I love that there are so many teams playing. You can just flip through all the games and there is always something happening,” sophomore Rafi Seigel said. “There are always crazy endings and upsets.”

Many people who participate in brackets don’t pay attention during the regular season, but they follow March Madness to enjoy the thrill of the tournament. People will often participate in different brackets for different groups with their friends and family.

“You do not need to know anything to start following [March Madness],” Shorr said. “It gets the not-traditional sports fans involved.”