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March's madness doesn't carry over to April

March's madness doesn't carry over to April

Sports Commentary

March 31st, 2013 in News

This week's column is going to be about March Madness.

However, I'll stop short of calling it your official column of March Madness, because that would surely get me in trouble with the NCAA.

As many of you are probably aware, the NCAA has trademarked the term, meaning if anyone tries to use it for their own personal gain, they can expect to be hearing from some lawyers.

So let's reiterate (in case they're paying attention) - it's just a column about March Madness, not a March Madness Column.

And as a quick aside, I had at least three people ask me (with a somewhat perturbed attitude) why it was called March Madness when it doesn't end until April.

It's simple. Most of the madness occurs in March. Once the tournament gets to its latter stages, and this year is no different, there are rarely any upsets. The madness has ended and there are few surprises.

A few facts bear this out. Prior to this year, since the NCAA Tournament went to seeding in 1979, just four teams in the "lower half" of the field have made it to a Final Four. (Final Four, by the way, is another term the NCAA has trademarked. More about that later.)

Put another way, just four teams seeded ninth or worse have made it to the Final Four. In 34 tournaments since seeding began - meaning 136 spots available - just four have done it. That's 3 percent. Wichita State, a No. 9 seed, did it Saturday.

Those four - No. 11 VCU in 2011, No. 11 George Mason in 2006, No. 11 LSU in 1986 and No. 9 Penn in 1979 - all lost their first Final Four game.

Just one team seeded as low as No. 8 (Villanova in 1985) ever won a title, and no No. 7 seeds have ever won it. Only two No. 6 seeds (Kansas in 1988 and North Carolina State in 1983) have done it, and no No. 5 seeds have won it all.

So you see, once you get to basketball's ultimate stage, there's not a lot of madness. If you want that, show up during the early rounds, which happen in March.

Now, back to the NCAA. It's understandable that a corporate entity as big, and as powerful, as the NCAA would want to protect its interests.

But there is such a thing as going too far. Need proof? A quick glance at the institution's website reveals the NCAA holds 78 trademarks. 78!

Sure, some of them are no-brainers - Elite Eight, Final Four, March Madness, March Mayhem, Road to the Final Four, Selection Sunday.

And then there's perhaps the most creative one - The Frozen Four, referring to the hockey championships. And while I like "Champions Play Here," used for several sports, the companion piece of "Champions Win Here" is just not as good.

And there's many worse ones. Need examples?

• "Dribble." Seems this is an "event" around the Final Four where kids get to dribble balls around the host city. Wow.

• "3 Days. 3 Championships. The Ultimate Lacrosse Experience." Use too many words much?

• "Eight at the Plate." Sure, it's about the final eight baseball teams still alive, but it could just as easily describe many Easter dinners.

• "It's More Than Three Games." This is supposed to call attention to the other things going on around the Women's Final Four (also trademarked), but if you're watching at home, it's not more than three games.

• "NCAA News" and "NCAA Photos." Self-explanatory. Why you have to have them is not.

The list goes on and on. Unlike March, which is about to end and take the madness with it.