March Madness Promises Unprecedented Excitement and Drama


Quinn Postman, Co-Editor in Chief

March Madness, a single-elimination 68-team tournament that determines the college national champion, is a one-of-a-kind spectacle. 

The tournament first began in 1939 and has since built a reputation for drama, suspense, and excitement for everyone watching. 

The tournament starts with two-play in games, then the Round of 64 that begins on March 16 and ends with the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on April 3. 

Teams can earn a bid to March Madness by winning one of the 32 Division I conferences, which include Big Ten, PAC 12, SEC, and ACC. 

The 36 other teams are selected based on their record, conference, and performance in their conference tournament by the selection committee. After 64 teams are decided, each is given a seeding from one to 16 in each region. Regions include the west, south, east, and midwest. 

The number one seed would play the number 16, number two seed would play the number 15 seed, and so on. 

Selection Sunday is on March 12. By then, each team’s seeding will be released and matchups will be confirmed.

Pep bands and cheerleaders, win or go home, underdogs, Cinderella stories, and pure raw drama are all on show in each game in March Madness. The tournament brings together people who love college basketball and those who don’t know the difference between a Blue Devil and a Tar Heel. 

The main reason March Madness is so popular is that people can make their own bracket. It is very easy to make a bracket. A user picks one team to win over the other and simply does this until there is one team remaining. 

Predictions can be based on personal views of each college, statistical data from the Crimson’s Tide season, the belief that a Houston Cougar is the most fierce mascot, or just a gut feeling that Kansas will repeat as national champions. 

All in all, any method in choosing a bracket will likely end up in the same way. According to NPR, the probability of creating a perfect bracket is 1 in 9.2 quintillion. 

Around 40 million people created a bracket last year when the Kansas Jayhawks beat the UNC Tar Heels 72 – 69. However, nobody happened to make a perfect bracket. If a person does create a perfect bracket, American businessman and billionaire Warren Buffett has promised to give that person one billion dollars. 

A big reason for March Madness’ unpredictability are upsets. According to the NCAA’s official website, each tournament has at least four upsets. An upset is when a lower-seed team defeats a higher-seeded team. 

The most common upsets are ten over seven, 11 over six, and 12 over five. However, don’t be surprised to see the one, two, or three seed go out, as it has happened before where teams like St. Peter’s, UMBC, and Albeine Christian have upset tournament favorites. 

Who are the favorites for this year’s tournament?

Houston Cougars 

The Houston Cougars come in consensus tournament favorites with a 28-2 regular season record that clinched the AAC conference title. The Cougars have the best chance of winning a national championship according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, which gives them a 33.7% chance of winning – double what any other team’s chances are. 

The Cougars have three players averaging double digits in points and are led by senior Marcus Sasser, who tied the career record for most 3-pointers at 261 during their win against Wichita State a couple of games ago. 

Alabama Crimson Tide 

The Alabama Crimson Tide has broken out its football school reputation and has established itself as a massive contender for a national championship. The Crimson Tide clinched the SEC conference title with a team mostly made up of freshmen, with coach Nate Oats trying to bring the school its first national championship. 

Brandon Miller came to Alabama as the third-best recruit and has established himself as Alabama’s best player, averaging 19.6 points per game along with eight rebounds per game. 

However, off-the-court, Miller was accused of handing a gun to teammate Darius Miles and Michael “Buzz” Davis that was used to murder a woman in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama reviewed the situation and allowed Miller to stay on the team. Miles was immediately removed from the team and was charged with capital murder. 

Expect Brandon Miller to be booed for the entirety of March Madness. 

Arizona Wildcats

Arizona comes into March Madness as the No.8 team, according to the AP Top 25 College Poll, with a 24-4 record. The Wildcats have a potent offense averaging 83.3 points per game, third in the country. 

The Wildcats are led by Azuolas Tubelis, averaging 19.6 points per game. Arizona finished behind UCLA in the PAC 12 and looks to avenge their losses to the Bruins in the PAC 12 tournament.