Ladies and gentlemen, itâs that time of year again. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the NCAA Division I Menâs Basketball championships, better known as March Madness, are about to be in full swing. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) first began âthe madnessâ in 1939. 68 teams qualify for the event. There are 31 conferences in Division 1, so 31 teams are granted an automatic bid by winning their respective conferenceâs championship. The remaining 37 slots are filled by at-large bids, which are chosen by the Selection Committee of the NCAA. The Selection Committee then divides teams into four geographic regions and grants seeds within the regions. The tournament is single elimination, and college basketball fans watch with anticipation as they hope to see their favorite team (or least favorite team) advance to the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and ultimately the Final Four, which is held this year in New Orleans. Many Ames High students are rooting for the team closest to home. The Iowa State Cyclones, who will be competing in the Big 12 Championships for an automatic bid this weekend. âThe Cyclones are going to win it all,â senior Phillip Shaw said. 2009 alumnus and member of the 2009 state championship basketball team, guard Bubu Palo, will be seen on the court playing with the Cyclones. In 2010, another kind of March Madness hit Ames High as the boyâs basketball team won back to back state championships. Many have fond memories of taking the pep bus down to the Des Moines, storming into the student section of Wells Fargo Arena and watching the talented boys that towered over everyone in the hallways consecutively win 53 games. 2010 alumni and former members of the basketball team Doug McDermott and the famous Harrison Barnes, both having recently won conference championship titles and automatic bids into the NCAA tournament, will be admired by Ames High students once again as they take on March Madness. âWinning back to back state championships with my best friends is my favorite high school memory,â McDermott said. McDermott, a forward at Creighton University, is one of the top players in college basketball. âNCAA basketball is fun because there is so much on the line each time you step on the floor,â McDermott said. However, itâs not all fun and games. âWe have practice for about an hour and a half each day.â McDermott gives credit to Ames High for many of his skills – both academic and athletic. âI feel proud saying Iâm from Ames High. Youâre around a family-like atmosphere everyday, and all of the teachers are truly special,â McDermott said. âThe [academic] experiences Iâve had there have helped me and will continue to help me down the road.â With three stars from Ames High and our home team entering into March Madness, there is no reason why you should not be as well.