It’s March!

By Jon Gluskin

OK, so maybe these two words don’t have the same affect when they’re placed below my mug shot as they do below Dee giving a jersey pop on the cover of Sports Illustrated – but it still means the same thing.

It’s March – the greatest month of the year.

After making it through the cold winter months and looking at the calendar and it’s March, there’s a different feeling in the air around campus.

Everything changes and life is put into perspective – all that matters is college basketball.

As if college basketball wasn’t good enough already, in March the excitement level doubles. Even triples.

In March, the only “-ology” that matters is Bracketology. All other classes take a backseat to this class. Starting soon we’ll get daily updates from Mr. Lunardi.

From the last week of the regular season when conference championships are decided to conference tournaments to the Big Dance, it’s basketball, basketball, basketball.

You count down the days until Selection Sunday, when predictions and guesses don’t matter anymore. You anxiously look at the matchups waiting to see where Illinois will land and who’s in its bracket.

The most important piece of homework becomes your bracket, which you never put down for three weeks. You obsess over every 8 vs. 9 game and go back and forth at least 20 times.

When you close your eyes, you see little brackets and numbers running through your head. The same goes for when you’re dreaming.

You walk around campus and all you see is orange, which is pretty impressive given the campus is usually plastered in it already.

Your daily schedule and attendance of classes consists of when Illinois and the other teams you picked to do well are playing – if there’s a conflict, classes get the shaft.

You make Spring Break plans around the NCAA Tournament, making sure you’ll have access to a TV at all times.

Every time you hear CBS’s basketball intro theme song play, you can’t help but smile and know that everything will be OK.

You have daydreams of listening to “One Shining Moment,” while inserting, Dee, James, Rich and everyone else into the highlight reel – showing off the Championship trophy.

The first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament become the two greatest weekdays of the year. Thirty-two games. Each and every one matters. You live by the little box in the corner of the screen that shows the other scores. You crave the live look-ins.

You watch as the 12-seeds upset the 5-seeds and really believe this will be the year a 16-seed upsets a 1-seed – it’d be even better if it was Duke.

And then onto Saturday and Sunday with the second round games. You become more and more hooked with every 3-pointer, slam-dunk and buzzer-beater.

By the time there’s only 16 teams left, you’re craving more basketball and the next three days seem like an eternity. They drag on and it seems like you’ll never make it to Thursday.

Thursday eventually does come and it’s more non-stop basketball. More of the fast-paced down-to-the-wire action we’ve become so accustomed to. Everyone jumps on “Cinderella’s” bandwagon.

From the Sweet 16 to the Elite Eight to the Final Four to the Championship game, it just gets better and better and better.

March is the time when America learns about schools we never thought existed.

March is why Gonzaga’s become a household name.

March is why Bryce Drew and Valparaiso will go down in NCAA history.

March is why people have heard about Weber State and Hampton.

Only in March do you get this type of excitement.

Only in March do we throw everything else aside and just worry about basketball – that’s why it’s the best.

Only in March can a team be down 15 with 4:04 left in the game and come back and win.

March Madness, baby.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]