March Madness Is Right Around The Corner


Graphic by Noah Hedges

Noah Hedges gives insight on why your bracket got busted.

Noah Hedges, Reporter

For college basketball fans, the best part of the season is coming up in just a few weeks: March Madness. College students and alumni will sit in front of their TVs on March 17 waiting to see if their school basketball team makes the top 68 to be in the tournament.

A unique part of the tournament is that everyone in the world has a chance to predict who will win each and every game. ESPN offers an absurd amount of money to anyone who submits a perfect prediction bracket, which means that every prediction for each of the 67 games was predicted correctly. Ever since the online predictions have been on the internet, no one has ever predicted a perfect bracket.

In 2017, the tournament was a lot different than expected. Solid teams were losing to teams that weren’t as good, as Virginia (No. 1 seed) lost to UMBC (No. 16 seed). The upset number from last year was 13, which means that 13 teams took the dub over the better seed.

Upsets and blowouts are two very distinct types of games in the March Madness tournament, but the Cinderella stories are the most exciting to watch. The Cinderella story of last year was Loyola Chicago. They had their first tournament bid since 1985, and that was only the start. They were placed as a No. 11 seed in the South Region. In the first round, they upset the No. 6 seed Miami Hurricanes to move on to face the strong No. 3 seeded team of the Tennessee Vols. The world was shocked at that, but they didn’t let up. Following upsetting Tennessee, they stunned the No. 7 seed Nevada and No. 9 seed Kansas State. Four upsets. Four rounds. Possibly the most exciting team to ever play in the tournament.

This year, most of the same teams will be making an appearance in the tournament. Typically, the top five seeds from each region will consistently make the tournament. Most of the AP poll ranked teams at the end of the regular season will make the tournament, along with other teams from around the country to fill in the rest of the 43 spots.

Rolling into Week 15, the top 5 teams in the country are 1. Tennessee, 2. Duke, 3. Gonzaga, 4.Virginia and 5. Kentucky. These rankings seem normal, as all five of these teams have been rotating in and out of the top five for years now.

Freshman star Zion Williamson has been on fire in his first year at Duke, as he plans to take the team deep into the tournament, while they sit right now at 21-2. They lost to a solid Gonzaga team early on, and they were stunned by Syracuse in a nail biter, but Duke seems to have their team together moving forward toward the tournament. Duke is normally a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, and this year, they will most likely be a No. 1 seed, due to their strong regular season record.

Gonzaga has always been a hit or miss team, although in the past few years, they’ve been a hit in the AP poll. The Gonzaga team right now is ranked among the most dominant teams in the last decade of college basketball. They are also sitting at 21-2, with losses to Tennessee and North Carolina. Gonzaga will be a team to watch in the tournament this year.

Tennessee has always been a solid team in the NCAA, but this year, they’re proving that they deserve the top spot in the country. They’ve only lost one game this year to Kansas at the beginning of the season, but no w they are rolling into week 15 with a 22-1 record. Since the SEC is a tough conference for all sports, Tennessee will be tested leading up to the tournament, as they play Kentucky two more times before the end of the season.

Other teams to watch would definitely be tournament returnees Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Michigan State and Villanova. Houston is also a huge contender since last year they fought to the Sweet 16. All of the other teams in the top 25 have a good shot at making the tournament, but no one can pinpoint seed placements or game opponents until Selection Sunday, on March 17.

Back in 2010, when I was just seven years old, I decided I would fill out a prediction bracket for the 2010 championship tournament. Obviously, I had no idea what I was doing, but I predicted that Butler (No. 5 seed at the time) would win the whole tournament. I was pretty much on the nail, as Butler’s tournament came down to a last second shot that missed to go down to Duke. I will be making a prediction bracket once again for the 2019 tournament, so stay tuned for my prediction.