Sports fans enter bracket madness


Logan Earle

The many different options of winners in the March Madness brackets. The fight to get to a perfect bracket will continue with the 64 options this year.

Logan Earle, Staff Writer

Warning to all teachers: coming soon, high school students will no longer be paying attention to class and will instead watch basketball on their computers. With March Madness right around the corner, people all around the country will start to invest more time into college basketball to get as close to a perfect bracket they can.

 To this day, no one has ever gotten a 100% perfect bracket– with 64 total teams, there are over 65,000 possible Final Four outcomes. According to the NCAA, the longest streak of correct picks is 49 games; there are 67 total games.

Before teams are picked for March Madness, conference tournaments occur. The conference tournaments add to the excitement and intensity of basketball in March making for more entertaining basketball. Teams fighting for a chance at making the tournament put everything on the line to win. The winner of each conference has an automatic spot in the tournament. With 34 total conferences, there will be an additional 30 spots available. 

The way the March Madness bracket is created starts with four regions: Midwest, South, East and West. Each region has 16 teams seeded 1-16, and the higher rank each team is, the lower rank they will face off against. The bracket selection will take place on Sun, March 12. The winners of each region will play in the Final Four and then the National Championship on April 3.

The factor that separates March Madness from other sports tournaments is the titular madness of it all. With 64 total teams nothing is guaranteed: shocking upsets, rivalries going head to head and high levels of excitement transpire all over the country. In 2018, the first ranked UVA lost to the 16th ranked UMBC 74-54. To this day it is the only time a one seed has lost to the 16 seed.

The amount of insanity in the tournament is what keeps fans engaged for all four weeks. Game winning shots cause the most attention in basketball and there is no lack of those during  March Madness. In the 2016 National Championship, Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit a game winning deep three-pointer at the buzzer to defeat North Carolina 77-74. With game winners happening what feels like every other day, the tournament always makes headlines. 


There is no official bracket out, as conference tournaments start in early March, but the ESPN Tournament Bracketology gives a good idea of how the tournament could look. The bracketology gives a chance to make early predictions for what could happen in the tournament by showing the current predicted bracket. Based on the information in the bracketology, my prediction is the Final Four will consist of Purdue, first seed from the South, vs. Texas, second seed from the West, and Virginia, third seed from the Midwest, vs. Houston, first seed from the East. Purdue will defeat Texas, Houston will defeat Virginia and Purdue will defeat Houston in the National Championship game. Purdue has the most experienced roster and compared to other high-ranked teams, they have done better than most against the high ranked teams.

Even though that prediction has many higher seeds, that does not mean upsets won’t happen. In the South bracket, 10th ranked Kentucky will defeat second ranked UCLA and sixth ranked Illinois to make it to the Elite 8 before their run comes to an end by Purdue. Kentucky has one of the most respected head coaches with coach John Calipari, who can lead his underdog team to big wins. Going West, fourth ranked Gonzaga will defeat first ranked Arizona in the Sweet 16.Gonzaga has played against less ranked teams than Arizona, however they have put up better fights than Arizona has. Heading to the Midwest, 12th ranked Oral Roberts will upset fifth ranked UConn and fourth ranked Kansas State to make their Cinderella run to the Sweet 16. Every year there has to be a big unexpected run by a lower ranked team, Oral Roberts is that team. Currently in the middle of a double digit game win streak, they will come into the tournament hot. Down south, seventh ranked Duke upsets second ranked Tennessee and fourth ranked TCU to clinch a spot in the Elite Eight where their run ends with Houston. Duke has been able to compete with teams at the same level as Tennessee and TCU, and  a new head coach who is looking to follow in the footsteps of Coach Mike Krzyzewski. 

March Madness predictions are some of the most challenging predictions to make. Personally, predicting the champion only once gives me hope to find bracket success this year. The madness of the tournament can be so unpredictable. But that is what makes the tournament so popular every year: fans fail to get a perfect bracket, so they make it their mission to get closer and closer each year.