Madness is in full effect

DJ WOODMORE
Staff Writer

There is only one month out of the year when grown men can be seen dancing and crying all on the same stage. Only one month when underdogs are the favorites, dreams are shattered and legacies are made. And only one month in which your chance of winning the lottery is slightly greater than picking a perfect bracket. The month is March and this one already looks to be one for the ages.
“March Madness is a brutal time of year for everybody,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Dave Macedo said. “It’s all about surviving and advancing, or else it’s lose and go home.”
Macedo has experience at every level of the NCAA tournament, from first-round upsets to national championship rings and everything in between. He has made an appearance in the “Big Dance” each of the last 10 years at VWC.
“This tournament can either break your heart or create memories that last a lifetime,” he said. “The key is getting hot at the right time plus a little bit of luck.”
But while the NCAA tournaments at the Division II and III levels have already begun, the teams at the Division I level are still playing for their spots in the bracket. Everybody’s favorite teams, such as Duke and UNC, are still looking to keep hope alive as they end their regular season and get ready to begin conference play.
From there, those who win their conference tournaments will receive automatic bids to the NCAA tournament and those who don’t will hope to continue their season with an at-large bid. There are 351 teams in Division I that all start the season with a common goal, but only 68 of those teams advance to the tournament.
“We all want to watch the David vs. Goliath matchup and the Cinderella team come out on top, but nobody picks them because we don’t want it to mess up our bracket,” senior Trent Batson said.
This year the players will not be the only ones expecting perfection on the court; fans will be thirsting for it. What’s at stake? One billion dollars! According to Rob Wile of the news website “Business Insider,” Berkshire Hathaway has teamed up with Cleveland Cavaliers owner and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert to offer college basketball fans a shot at becoming a billionaire. Legendary investor Warren Buffet will be awarding one billion dollars to any fan that creates a perfect bracket in this year’s NCAA tournament.
“This adds tons of excitement to the sport of college basketball and makes every game just a little bit more important for both the players and fans,” sophomore guard Sedric Nady said.
Its important to note that a perfect bracket has NEVER been filled out in the history of the Bracket Challenge, which makes this challenge that much more exciting. But all is not lost if your bracket has an error or two, because Quicken Loans will be awarding $100,000 each to contestants with the 20 imperfect brackets closest to being correct. So, if you get painfully close to perfection and fall short, there’s still big money to be won.
Last year’s tournament was full of bracket busters, none more evident than Florida Gulf Coast University, who stole the NCAA tournament’s spotlight with high-flying alley oops and NBA-range 3-pointers. In doing so, they became the first 15 seed in NCAA basketball history to advance to the Sweet 16.
This year’s college basketball has already had its fair share of history-making moments, including Wichita State’s perfect regular-season record of 31-0, the first undefeated season the NCAA has seen in 10 years. Another standout is Creighton University’s senior forward Doug McDermott who looks likely to join the 3,000-point club, a feat that only seven collegiate athletes have ever accomplished in their NCAA careers.
March has officially begun but the madness hasn’t even started yet. The official start day of the tournament is March 18, and all games will be streamed for free on various sponsoring websites, as well as be aired on cable television channels including CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV.
The 2014 tennis season is nearly in full swing. Both the men and women’s teams have been preparing for this Spring season.
Head Coach Darryl Cummings, born and raised in Virginia Beach, has returned to Virginia Wesleyan after a decade of coaching at Old Dominion University. Having years of collegiate coaching experience, Cummings has been confidently training his players for the upcoming season.
“In the fall, we had two to three tournaments that provided competitive opportunities,” he said. “It gave the coaches and players good feedback on how to develop their games.”
In addition to team training, many players pursued individual improvement during their school breaks.
Sophomore Mia Proctor prepared for the fall and upcoming season by playing and teaching tennis during the summer.
“This helped me understand what I had to work on,” Proctor said. “I also tried to work on my mental game and under that anyone on any day can win the match.”
Fellow sophomore player Graham Wilson prepared for the upcoming season by training over winter break and meeting with his personal trainers three times a week at Tidewater Performance in Newport News.
“This season I plan on trying to improve my record from last year to go as far as I can and hopefully make it to nationals in May,” Wilson said.
Proctor’s goals for this season is being a leader and making sure everyone is trying their best on the court, while Wilson hopes the team’s training will lead them to a win at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship.
One of the most exciting aspects of the players’ training takes place during Spring Break. Both teams will travel to Florida over break to enhance their understanding of the game and become closer as a team. The trip will begin in Orlando where players will be matched by teams … (play a couple of teams.)
“I am really looking forward to the trip because it will give good training opportunities,” Cummings said.
Next, the teams will attend a pro tournament in Miami where they’ll observe the highest level playing and train at IMG Academy in Bradenton, where famous tennis players like Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Andre Agassi are alumni and trainees.
“I’m expecting the team to do well during the season and to really understand what it means to be a team,” Proctor said.
Players are working extremely hard to cooperate as a team and are confident that their training can lead to championships.
Cummings stated confidently, “This season, the men have the chance to compete for a conference championship and the women’s have a chance to be at the top 5 this season.”

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