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    In case you were hiding under a rock, yesterday was Selection Sunday; the kickoff to March Madness where the NCAA College basketball tournament participants are placed, seeded accordingly, and announced. In bro terms this is the kickoff to the best month (3-4 weeks-ish) of the year.

    Just like the flowers are blooming outside, bromances will blossom over brackets, beers, and high-fives. Brace yourself ladies, there are over 95 games played over the next few weeks. Which translates into a lot of time spent inside, watching basketball, and a whole lot of smack talk. I may not be painting a pretty picture, but this can be a pleasurable experience.

    The first thing you have to do is fill out a bracket. Much like betting the ponies at Churchill Downs, this can be a strategic plan or a fun one: meaning you can pick teams based on their season thus far, or you can pick them based on names, colors, and if you’re partial to one of the players or coaches. My bracket is usually a combination of both fun and strategic choices.

    Filling out the bracket will get your mind into the madness. And if you’re uber-competitive you can place bets on the brackets with your friends. Disclaimer: this is technically illegal but truly everyone does it. From office pools to Vegas bets, March Madness is a billion-dollar betting industry.

    Second, you want to be able to talk a good game. I cannot play basketball. I can barely dribble a ball. But I do know enough to survive a conversation. Here's enough info to get you going:


    1)   The Team:

    a.     Each team is allowed 5 players on the court at any given time.

    b.     The team can substitute players but only after dead balls or in time-outs.

    c.      The players play offense and defense. Unlike football they do not change. Basketball players are responsible for scoring and defending.


    2)   The Game:

    a.     College ball games consist of two 20-minute halves.

    b.     If the game is tied at the end it will go into overtime (OT) for 5 minutes.

    c.      The teams can go into multiple OT’s until the game is decided. The most memorable game for a Louisville fan in recent years would be the game vs Notre Dame which was 5 OT’s resulting in a loss for the Cards.


    3)   Scoring:

    There are three different types of scoring; 2 point shot, 3 point shot, and 1 point free throw.

    a)    A 3 point shot is made outside of the arc around the basket.

    b)    A 2 point shot is made within the arc around the basket.

    c)    A free throw is when a player is fouled or there is a penalty based on a play.


    4)   Tournament Terms:

    a.     Cinderella, no this is not Walt Disney’s princess but a close metaphor. In March Madness terms this means a team goes further than they were expected to. Usually because of an upset game where the Cinderella team (underdog) beat the expected victor.

    b.     Sweet Sixteen: The last sixteen teams remaining in the tournament, or to the third round of the tournament.

    c.      Elite Eight: The last eight teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament's field, or the fourth round of the tournament.

    d.     Final Four: The four remaining playoff teams that compete in the big dance.

    e.     Big Dance: Another name for the tournament.

    f.      Cutting the Net: Traditionally, the winning team’s players and coaches will cut the nets from the baskets in the arena that the final game is played.


    My last tidbit of advice is to just have fun with it. You may be single and this could lead to meeting a new romantic interest. Or if you’re already taken this could be a new way to connect with your partner. Either way, this could be the beginning of a new tradition for your life. So fill out a bracket, start a conversation and let the games begin. And in my best Dickie V impression, "It’s March Madness, baby!"

    Bella Portaro's picture

    About Bella Portaro

    Happiness Cultivator. Blogger. Writer. Social Media and PR Maven. Dreamer. Louisville Lover. Blogger at Bella of Louisville; a lifestyle blog. A lifestyle is- by definition to me - the way in which one chooses to live their life. As I’ve entered into this chapter / book of my life with a strong understanding of who I am, lifestyle has become about the art of living well. This idea goes beyond creating a beautiful home and investing in my wardrobe. Living well means being kind, being good company, contributing to your community, and becoming a person of substance and grace. If designing a life full of substance and grace isn’t aspirational, I don’t know what else is. I love writing about events and things to do in Louisville. I hope you enjoy my posts and connect with me on social media!

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