Rich Glas can still remember the first March Madness game he ever went to. Sitting in his office in Memorial Auditorium, the men’s basketball head coach described what it was like watching Larry Bird and Magic Johnson battling it out at the 1979 Indiana State-Michigan State championship game. Since then, Glas has been to many Final Four games, but his enthusiasm for following the March Madness line-up remains.
“It’s a fun thing to watch develop, to see how it unfolds,” Glas said. “Whenever I watch games, I try to learn things.”
Though most Cobbers do not follow games with the same coach’s eye that Glas does, sports enthusiasts across campus agree that March Madness is an exciting time of year. Senior Matt Bushard explained how many Cobbers perceive the month-long bout of tournaments for the NCAA’s men’s and women’s collegiate basketball programs.
“It’s a national holiday,” Bushard said.
Bushard himself is a long-time Louisville State fan, but since the Cardinals were knocked out of the competition, he has been focusing on top-rated Kansas State. He loves upsets in the competition, though.
“Something different seems to happen every year, so it keeps you on the edge of your seat,” Bushard said.
Freshman Calvin Ziegler also enjoys the unpredictability of March Madness.
“I kind of always root for the underdog,” he said.
According to Ziegler, March Madness has gained a new significance for him since he entered college. Now that he is the same age as the players themselves, they seem a lot less like the far-off heroes that he looked up to when he was young, and more like peers who have a tremendous amount of expectation placed on their college-aged shoulders.
“The ordinary stresses that we go through are amplified,” Ziegler said.
Sophomore Mark Schlotterback also admires the commitment and dedication that the Division I student-athletes bring to the competition.
“I couldn’t imagine myself playing on such a stage at this age,” he said. “I think it must take someone who really believes in themselves.”
Ziegler’s girlfriend, freshman Sam Lohze, is admittedly not a religious follower of March Madness. However, she enjoys the ethics by which college teams abide compared with their professional counterparts.
“They’re more about the athletics and the game than in the pros,” Lohze said. “It’s more honest, I guess you could say.”
Sallie has held positions in The Concordian since her sophomore year as a writer in both the Sports and Pulse sections. She is now the paper’s sports editor, though she claims that she’s “not a bro,” despite her position. Sallie hopes to “grow the section” during her time as editor by including more feature and student-interest stories. Her other interests include folk art and folklore. She has a special interest in folk costumes (about which she says, “I like to make them. I like to wear them. I know too much about them.”) and sølje, traditional Norwegian jewelry , which she collects.