It has been called the second most important yearly sporting event in the USA. No, we are not talking about Baseball’s World Series, or even about the race for the NHL’s coveted Stanley Cup. In this case we are referring to the NCAA Final Four championship, the basketball tournament which is often just referred to as “March Madness.” The tournament features 68 college basketball teams competing in a single elimination tournament, to determine the national champion. Teams include those that are highly ranked in their divisions, as well as some that are chosen by an NCAA selection committee. This mixture of differing levels of talent and the single elimination aspect of play, lead to some very thrilling games where literally anyone can win it all. And past success is no guarantee of future performance: Last year’s winner, the Kentucky Wildcats, won’t even be back this year because of their poor showing during the regular season.
If you love college basketball, we have found just the remarkable listing for you, the 2013 NCAA® Men’s Final Four VIP Trip Package For Two – Presented By Infiniti:
The listing goes into some detail about what the winner will receive:
“(W)e are auctioning off a travel package for two to the 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four®. The highest bidder will receive free airfare for two (airline based on winning bidder’s location), hotel accommodations for a 3 night stay at the Westin Peach Tree Plaza Atlanta and tickets to National Semifinal games on April 6th and the Championship Final on April 8th in Atlanta.”
With the high bid stalled at just over $2,000, it seems someone with a serious “basketball jones” is going to get a great deal. Frankly, I’d pay that much just to fly to Atlanta and stay at the hotel for three days, nevermind the amazing tickets (for three games!). And to top it off, it’s all for a really good cause: All proceeds will be going to the Coaches vs. Cancer program, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Association that empowers coaches, teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.
If you are wondering where the phrase March Madness came from, for a long time it was used exclusively in reference to high school basketball, specifically Illinois high-school ball. And so it was until 1982, when legendary CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger used it during that year’s NCAA tournament. The rest, as they say, is history. Interestingly, the tournament itself has created a unique numbers phraseology that is used to this day: aside from the “Final Four,” we have seen the phrases “Sweet Sixteen,” and “Elite Eight” popularized as well. I am sure the winner would be declared the “One to Rule them All” had that already not been popularized in the Hobbit novel series.
There are many differing opinions as to the best NCAA game of all time. You can find a pretty great list here, and see if your favorite is included. Being a fan of last minute finishes, I really enjoy this moment, from the 1977 NCAA Final Four semifinal game Marquette and UNC-Charlotte:
So what are you waiting for? As the auction notes, bid to win this wonderful package for a wonderful cause.