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Wood's Word: Let the Madness begin

My friends and I traveled down to Phoenix, Ariz., over spring break to enjoy some spring training baseball games, as well as some hot, lovely desert weather.

As you can imagine, it was a bit of a disappointment to get out of the car upon arrival and feel a temperature that would make Ebenezer Scrooge freeze up. The trip was very enjoyable. The weather — no, it was not.

I was feeling rather blue to come back home, but as I pulled up to my house and got out of the car, something wonderful happened: The Madness began.

The Madness first originates when the temperatures rise. The snow melts, and the weak, yellow grass can be seen as it glows with an aura of hope. Seeing the grass and feeling the warming air activated a deep instinct through my body. And once you turn it on, there is no going back.

Spring is here, and that can only mean one thing: March Madness.

There are two times of the year that can really fire me up. The first happens in late October when the NBA, the NFL, college football and the World Series are each filling up their share in the world of sports. The second would be . . . right about now. The NBA is in full stride, the NHL is knocking around, the MLB and MLS seasons are soon to begin (although the latter is, shall we say, not quite there yet), and college basketball is soon to put out a few of the most exciting weeks of the year. Life is good.

The 2012-13 NCAA college basketball season has been exceptionally satisfying to me. There have been multiple schools atop the rankings, as well as multiple No. 1 upsets, and the top teams could be chosen among a handful of potential candidates.

As the preparation begins for the NCAA tournament, a few things need to happen. Conference tournaments need to be finalized. This is especially important for those reading this column, because the Weber State Wildcats will be competing for their spot in the NCAA tournament this weekend. Despite just two conference losses this season, the Wildcats finished in second place once again behind the University of Montana Grizzlies, whose only conference loss came from Weber State earlier this year. WSU will begin the conference tournament on Thursday night against Northern Arizona. The winner will move on to play the highest remaining seed on Friday night, and the championship will be held on Saturday night. More than likely, we will be looking at a rematch in Montana between the Wildcats and the Grizzlies.

After the conference tournaments have ended, the teams for the NCAA tournament will be chosen in a process known simply as Selection Sunday (being this Sunday, of course). Sixty-four teams are placed into brackets consisting of different regions throughout the country. The brackets are placed into these regions, and the location of each team’s first game coincides with the region it is given.

One of the more exciting elements of this year is the fact that the bracket seeding is anyone’s game. There are no solid favorites for who will be given the top spot in each of the four regions, and the subsequent spots for each region are tough to guess as well.

The fact of the matter is this: This will be one of the more thrilling tournaments in recent memory. Many, many solid teams will put up everything they can to make it to the championship round of the NCAA tournament, and there will certainly be upsets, surprises and a excessive amount of excitement. Bring on the Madness!

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