Choate Goes Mad for March Madness

Photo by Shamari Harringon

A student streams the tournament on their phone.

Around the middle of March every year, people across the country rush to fill out his or her brackets for the men’s college basketball tournament, which most people refer to as March Madness. The tournament consists of 64 teams, selected by an NCAA committee, that compete for the national championship.

The tournament is exciting because underdogs topple heavy favorites all the time, which means a fan never knows what to expect. The odds of picking every winner—that is, filling out a perfect bracket—are about 1 in 9 quintillion. Most analysts agree that in the first round alone there are 28 games where either team can reasonably win, one aspect that makes the tournament exciting to any sports fan.

After the first weekend of this year’s tournament, which began on March 14, there were mixed reviews about how the games played out. Scott Herman ’19 said, “I was disappointed that there weren’t any unexpected upsets in the first round. I picked no. 15 Jacksonville St. to beat no. 2 Louisville. I guess that was bold, but I was trying to expect the unexpected.”

In the second round, people like Scott got what they were looking for when no. 8 Wisconsin defeated no. 1 Villanova, a favorite to win the tournament. no. 7 South Carolina defeated no. 2 Duke, another massive upset. According to CBS, when Duke and Villanova lost, nearly forty percent of the country saw its tournament champion get knocked out.

After the first weekend of the tournament, many were flustered, but others found their brackets to still be intact. Stuart Arthur ‘17 commented, “It’s been pretty interesting. My bracket is kind of a mess at this point, but I don’t think I’m much worse off than anybody else.”

As the Sweet Sixteen closed, no. 11 Xavier and no. 7 South Carolina progressed to the Elite Eight, again, two teams that very few had making it that far. Matt Anastasio ’19 said, “Villanova was expected to win it all this year, but upsets happen. There’s a reason that there has never been a perfect bracket.” Matt picked no. 3 UCLA to win it all, and he had a very good chance at winning the pools he was in until Friday night when UCLA lost to no. 2 Kentucky.

You can hear people talking about the tournament anywhere on campus because people love the craziness. For half the month of March, all eyes are on Men’s College Basketball. It starts conversations on whether Villanova could realistically repeat or whether no. 10 Wichita St. was underseeded again and unfairly forced to play a powerhouse Kentucky team in only the second round of the tournament.

March Madness, in all of its glory and heartbreak, is undoubtedly one of the most unique sporting events at any level, so be sure to watch the Final Four and National Championship games on April 1 and 3.

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