Madness seems to be an applicable term to define a lot of what’s going on in our world right now. It’s hard for people to contemplate the various health suggestions and restrictions imposed on society in these trying times.
Usually, madness is restricted to one very specific meaning in March. The famous NCAA basketball tournament that normally captures the sports universe at this time, however, was one of many casualties of the coronavirus’s unprecedented spread and influence over the sports world.
Luckily, in an attempt to make some light of the current situation, "Corona Madness" was born. Two “bored Gen-Z kids”, as labeled by Washington Post writer Gene Park, set up a live stream on Twitch of their virtual March Madness bracket through Xbox 360 using the discontinued video game series NCAA College Basketball. The two people in question, 19-year-old Josh Safran and 21-year-old Jackson Weimer, are collaborating in an effort to provide needy basketball fans with some sort of glimpse at what could have been the 2020 March Madness tournament.
Park shares that the two friends utilized the services of eBaum’s World, a company that Weimer was set to work for out of graduation this past winter. With coronavirus’s extreme effect on society, however, Weimer’s move to New York was postponed. He still used eBaum’s World in order to launch the stream of their faux bracket on Twitch, however, and set up a makeshift studio in his basement in order to make their dream a reality.
The tournament’s official Twitter page (@coronamadness) released the bracket they decided upon as their idea continues to pick up steam. Kansas, Gonzaga, Dayton and Baylor are the No. 1 seeds.
Safran, a Temple University student, joined Philadelphia sports radio on 94.1 WIP, a RADIO.COM Sports affiliate, to share his story.
“We took the video game NCAA Basketball 10... we’re going to go in, edit all the rosters, add the player names and the ratings,” Safran said. “I, myself, was the selection committee. I created a field of 64 and we set up a whole set in my friend’s basement.”
Safran used NCAA Basketball 10, which features Blake Griffin as an Oklahoma Sooner on the cover, as it was the most recent NCAA basketball video game allowed before likeness rules ended the series.
When asked if he is worried about receiving any negative feedback if the “wrong” teams come out on top, Safran says he’s not worried and that one of his favorite parts is that he wants to make it “as crazy as possible” by including some teams that have no business being in the tournament.
His whole interview with Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team is available using RADIO.COM Rewind or with this video.
You can follow along with the tournament using the eBaum’s World Twitch channel here.