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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 13, 2017

March Madness: Being a college basketball fan can be contagious this time of year

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Read a NCAA Tournament article and tell what your learn. Anyone playing for this area or state?
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The tournament has an impact beyond sports, just like the Super Bowl and World Series. Find March Madness coverage in other sections, such as business, entertainment or lifestyle.
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Sports jargon can be hard to get. Is this paper's coverage generally clear, even for a non-fan? Do writers define unfamiliar terms?

The calendar reaches mid-March, so you know what that means. And it's no problem if you don’t – we're here to help you understand why basketball fans experience "madness." The mania began recently as college teams battled for league and conference championships or strong season finishes. Those outcomes affect selections made Sunday as NCAA officials determined who qualifies for a nearly three-week tournament starting Tuesday, as well as match-ups in the earliest rounds.

The field of 68 teams includes basketball powerhouses such as Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, UCLA, Kentucky, Louisville and Gonzaga, as well as lower-tier hopefuls flirting with the possibility of an upset in what's called the Big Dance. A David-beats-Goliath surprise happens most years. The number of competitors shrinks daily with opening rounds in nine cities, followed by four regional quarter-finals March 23-26 in Kansas City, San Jose, Memphis and New York. Semifinal and championship games featuring the Final Four teams are April 1 and 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona.

Fans will watch livestreams and telecasts on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV – yes, sometimes sneaking peeks at school and at work. (OK, that happens often). This type of hard-core rooting, plus betting pools that may be stone-cold serious or just-for-fun blind draws of team names, are why it's dubbed March Madness. There's also a NCAA women's tournament, with selections announced Monday, that runs through a March 31 and April 2 championship series in Dallas.

What are brackets? The NCAA pairs teams against each other in the opening rounds based on their records this season and other factors. Those pairings, displayed on a chart printed and posted by newspapers, are known as brackets. This year's were announced Sunday.

Off-court impact: The tournament is a big business, generating more than 95 percent of the NCAA's revenue from broadcast rights, a share of ticket fees, sponsorships and merchandise.

Blogger says: "The NCAA men's basketball tournament field is loaded this year, featuring many stars that we'll see suiting up for NBA teams in the fall." -- Paul Kasabian, Bleacher Report

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2017
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