The Big Dance. No other sports tournament represents such a seesaw of delight and despair, absolute elation and utter deflation, praying and cursing. It’s March Madness and the brackets have been announced, kicking off the Road to the Final Four and an estimated $1.9 billion of lost revenue via reduced productivity from employees at companies around the country. Tipping off on March 17, the 2015 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament will no doubt excite and entertain millions over the next few weeks, as 68 teams try to knock each other out of the running and claim a spot in Indianapolis. Over the next couple of days, “Bracketology” experts will analyze the matchups and flood airways and sports web sites with game predictions and speculation. Will all the number 1 seeds advance to the finals? What teams will get hot and surprise everyone?
It’s easy to catch March Madness fever, but it’s important to point out that basketball is only one factor in the tournament’s intrigue and appeal nationwide. There are many lessons illuminated in the tourney that are applicable in other aspects of life, not just on the hardwood. Here are the top 5 lessons we find are useful to share in regards to the industries we serve.
Lesson 1: Expect the unexpected.
It wouldn’t be the Big Dance without at least one Cinderella team making a deep run. Unfortunately, it’s never the one you think it’s going to be – which is why they’re aptly dubbed “Bracket Busters.” A few of the most memorable upsets include Final Four runs by 11-seeds Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 and George Mason in 2006; in 2012, when two 15-seeds teams, Lehigh and Norfolk State, made it to the Round of 32; and in 1983 when, in arguably the most famous fairy tale ending in NCAA basketball history, 6-seed NC State Wolfpack, led by iconic coach Jimmy Valvano, defeated the heavily favored 1-seed “Phi Slama Jama” Houston Cougars on a buzzer beater alley-oop.
The unpredictability of these “David versus Goliath” games also represents why the tournament is so exciting. According to the American Gaming Association, an estimated 40 million people are predicted to fill out brackets this year, wagering approximately $9 billion in bets. About $2 billion of that is bet in office pools, though the odds of picking the perfect bracket is practically impossible, at 1 in 9.2 quintillion.
Our customers never have to worry about unexpected or unavoidable problems threatening installations we oversee. As a company rule, we follow the Boy Scouts’ advice of “always be prepared” and make sure to bring extra quantities of everything needed to successfully install our oil containment systems. In addition, we take it to the next level and offer something unheard of in our industry: a $7 Million liability insurance policy for all properly installed C.I.Agent Geomembrane Liner and Oil Filtration Panel System and HFF Oil Stop Valves*.
Lesson 2: Know the rules of the game and ADHERE to them.
There’s no better and more infamous example of this than when, with only 11 seconds left on the time clock in the 1993 NCAA Championship Game, University of Michigan all-star forward and future #1 overall NBA Draft pick Chris Webber, trapped by two defenders in the corner, called a time-out … of which the team had none. Rules of basketball are clearly defined for this situation: a technical foul was issued, and the “Fab Five” of Michigan, down 73-71, watched in disbelief as their dreams of a championship ring disappeared with a swish of the net, as University of North Carolina easily sank two foul shots.
When it comes to protecting the environment from oil pollution, it’s also important to be aware of the SPCC Regulations. There is often a cost or tradeoff associated with ignoring those rules. As part of the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency instituted the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Rule to protect the waters of the U.S. from hydrocarbon contamination. According to SPCC 40 CFR 112, secondary containment systems are suggested to deter oil discharges or contain the spill when the primary oil containment method has failed. Failure to comply with the regulations may result in heavy fines.
The bottom line is that the consequences of not adhering to regulations can be expensive. Just ask the 1993 Wolverines, who paid the ultimate price with their National Championship defeat.
Lesson 3: Defense matters.
Yes, there are many, including mainstream ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who have concerns that defensive-driven teams and low scoring games have negatively impacted the current state of college hoops. But while it’s no secret that basketball is a spectator sport, the old Bear Bryant quip, “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships” is quite valid. In the game of basketball, good defense is driven by the skills of the guards. However, even the best guards aren’t a failsafe all the time, and when a shooter gets past the guards in the lane and square up for a jump shot, a talented shot blocker would be an example of a secondary level of defense.
For instance, in 1989, 16-seed Princeton came closer than any other in history, before that year and since, to knocking off the 1-seed Georgetown in a game that was decided on a blocked shot. Georgetown had a 50-49 lead with 15 seconds left in the game, but it was Princeton’s ball. Senior point guard and Ivy League Player of the Year Bob Scrabis dribbled off a screen from center Kit Mueller just outside the arc. With a clean look at the rim, he jumped and released … and out of the middle of the lane leaped the Hoya’s hulking center, 6’10” freshman Alonzo Mourning, with a monster block. After a brief scramble, Georgetown recovered the ball, but through a stroke of luck for the Ivy League school, stepped on the line. Princeton had the ball with one second remaining in the game. Matt Lapin inbounded to Mueller, who immediately took a shot, which was once again blocked by Mourning, his seventh of the game.
We offer several “secondary level” spill containment solutions, such as the C.I.Agent Oil Filtration Panel System, Geomembrane Liner System, HFF Oil Stop Valve and the VIPOR Pump. As one secondary containment solution does not fit all, all of ours are custom designed and site specific. All of our products utilize C.I.Agent, an environmentally-friendly petroleum-based blend of hydrophobic, USDA food-grade polymers that solidify hydrocarbons on contact into a rubber-like mass. Once solidified, the hydrocarbons become non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-carcinogenic and non-hazardous, and will not leech.
Lesson 4: Different teams present different challenges.
Georgetown’s near upset in 1989 is also a prime example of this (though it also takes a little dumb “luck of the draw” on Selection Sunday to help with a deep tournament run). The Hoyas were revered and feared for their pressing defense. However, sometimes brains beat brawn, and the Ivy League squad from Princeton and their notorious backdoor style of offense, characterized by impressive ball handling, skillful passing and a high basketball IQ, exploited chinks in the armor of the Big East powerhouse team.
In 2014, a 7-seeded University of Connecticut team, led by talented and experienced point guard Shabazz Napier, proved ideal matchups are the key to success in the NCAA tourney. They went into the tournament with a 26-8 record, and had ended regular season play with an embarrassing 33 point loss. But the Huskies bounced back and blazed through the brackets, beating higher-seeded teams and eventually clinching the title. How did UConn accomplish this improbable feat? Outstanding guard play was key, as it disrupted the strategic defenses of some of the best teams in the field, knocking down shots, forcing steals and controlling the pace of the games.
There are an estimated 5 million electrical utility vaults and manholes in the U.S. – approximately four manholes to every one vault. In research done for creating a line of filtration and dewatering products for utility vaults and manholes, we found there are issues that utilities deal with regarding vaults, but these issues tend to be geographically-specific and vary in different parts of the country. Down south, for instance, debris and sediment are common challenges in underground networks. In the western part of the U.S., protection from oil contamination tends to be a priority. In more urban environments, cigarette butts and street muck often clog pumps in vaults. We used this information to design our line of Vault Sump Filters. In addition, depending on the size, shape and location of the sump, the Sump Filters are available in round and square panel configurations and in custom sizes.
Lesson 5: Quality is key.
Yes, defense wins championships, but sometimes it also takes some quality shooting. The NCAA Tournament format expanded to 64 teams for the 1985 tournament. Some improbable tournament wins led the 8-seed Villanova to the Championship Game, facing off against defending national champions Georgetown. Riding a hot streak, the Wildcats needed a near perfect game to overcome Patrick Ewing and his Hoyas team, considered by some basketball experts as the best in the sport since the UCLA dynasty ended ten years earlier. But Villanova arrived at Rupp Arena that first day in April with their eyes on the prize. In the era before the three-point line, Nova shot an impressive 79% against the nation’s best defensive team, making 22 of 28 field goals (including nine of 10 in the second half).
We understand the importance of quality as well, and make sure all of our secondary containment solutions are manufactured under quality-controlled conditions and to our customer’s exact engineered specifications. The mentality of “one size fits all” does not hold oil with us, especially since different hydrocarbon releases require different, effective, environmentally-safe, and fast cleanup measures. Lucky for our customers, we have an arsenal of quality products available to meet the challenges. The entrepreneurial and collaborative nature of the company has fostered a culture of continual new product development. Not only do we create new products, but we constantly find ways to improve our current solutions, be it through new materials or processes.
Bonus Lesson: HAVE FUN!
While there is one OVERWHELMING favorite to win the 2015 NCAA Tournament, which removes some of the suspense as to who will be at least one of the teams in the final game, March Madness never fails to disappoint sports fans. The arenas are set for thrilling adrenaline rushes of buzzer-beating shots, the birth of unsung heroes and new rivalries, and two days in particular where very little work gets done. No matter what team you’re rooting for or how pathetic your bracket looks after the first two rounds, hope you enjoy the lunacy, baby!
*Specific documentation and installation photographs must be submitted; certain restrictions apply. See warranty for more information.