What March Madness Is Really All About

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY - MARCH 20:  (L-R) Marc Sonnen #23, Kwadzo Ahelegbe #11, Ali Farokhmanesh #5 and Johnny Moran #13 of the Northern Iowa Panthers celebrate after they won 69-67 against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Ford Center on March 20, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Be honest. Even though you didn’t pick Northern Iowa to beat Kansas (I’m sure only UNI fans did), you were still rooting for them.

And the same goes for St. Mary’s over Villanova.

Villanova plays in one of the nation's top conferences, was ranked in the top 10 most of the year, has a seasoned, veteran point guard in Scottie Reynolds, and was a second seed. Who could pick against them?

But that’s why we love March Madness. We love to see the Davids beat the Goliaths.

Northern Iowa beating the best team in the land isn’t just an amazing achievement; it reinforces the reasons why the NCAA Tournament is so great.

It gives the lesser-known teams a chance to take on the bigger teams on a neutral court.

It gives smaller conferences a chance to prove that they are just as good as the big boys.

And it gives Americans closure and reassurance that one of the greatest pastimes in all of sports hasn’t been fully corrupted by the big-money NCAA.

Ask any kid on Northern Iowa, St. Mary’s, Cornell, or Butler if they are playing basketball for a shot at the NBA, and most, if not all, would say no.

They just play for the love of the game.

For all the Kentuckys, Syracuses, Dukes, and UCLAs out there, there is a team from the SWAC, or the Ohio Valley Conference, or the MVC that is ready to compete for the national title, even if the odds are stacked against them.

America was delighted when George Mason made its run to the Final Four in 2006, and when Davidson made it to the Elite Eight in 2008.

Lets face it. We love the Cinderella story. We love it when a team given no chance to win actually does.

And that’s what makes March Madness great.