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Looking At The NCAA Tournament

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Looking At The NCAA Tournament

Sports

Looking At The NCAA Tournament

Looking At The NCAA Tournament

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The NCCA tournament has begun with 32 teams on the court Thursday alone. Already, Morehead State has upset Louisville.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

If you're a college basketball fan, this is your time. The NCAA tournament has begun with 32 teams on the court today alone. If you heard folks screaming in the cubicles at your workplace, you know what they might have been watching.

Already, Morehead State has upset Louisville, and hoops powerhouse Kentucky barely got by Princeton, a powerhouse in physics and comparative literature.

NPR's Mike Pesca is covering the tournament for us, and he's going to be sending us short vignettes. Here's what he sent today.

MIKE PESCA: For energy upsets, buzzer beaters and nail biters, nothing beats the first round of the NCAA tournament. The only downside to the excitement of the first round is it isn't the first round.

As a fan, what's your favorite round of the tournament?

Mr. PAT WILLIAMS(ph): I guess the first two.

PESCA: How do you like it this year?

Mr. WILLIAMS: How do I like it?

PESCA: How did you like it?

Mr. WILLIAMS: It hasn't happened yet.

PESCA: Oh, yeah, it did. The first round happened yesterday and the day before.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WILLIAMS: Good. I didn't quite catch those ones.

PESCA: As you heard from Pat Williams there, the first round is but a dusty date in memory. This year, the tournament expanded to 68 teams, and what were once called play-in games are now dubbed the first round games. Well, not dubbed by any of the 25 or so fans I talked to at the games. Even Butler head coach Brad Stevens got a little confused after his team won the first game it played in the second round.

Mr. BRAD STEVENS (Coach, Men's Basketball Team, Butler University): We're only 40 minutes into the NCAA tournament, but nobody will be more tournament tested by the second round than we will have been - or third round.

PESCA: For years, everyone had a pretty decent name for the games that took place before today - play-in games. Because, as I discussed with fan Jake Welsh(ph), if they're not play-in games, a cascade of chaos ensues.

Mr. JAKE WELSH: It means 60 teams get by, and so that means you can say you made it to the second round...

PESCA: Right.

Mr. WELCH: ...you know, so...

PESCA: And then there's the finals, the seventh round game.

Mr. WELCH: Yeah. That's true, even though you have to win six games.

PESCA: For all the contests of March, the NCAA doesn't need a prescriptivist versus descriptivist linguistics battle on its hands.

Vegas has descriptivist minus two, by the way.

Reporting five rounds from the championship game, I'm Mike Pesca, NPR News.

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