March Madness craze captivates students


Jared Dallos

Before the tournament bracket is released, A student fills out a practice bracket to prepare.

Jared Dallos, Staff Writer

As millions of people fill out their National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness bracket, they all hope to be the first person to make a verifiable perfect tournament prediction.

The NCAA college basketball tournament is one of the most popular sporting events in the United States. According to Statista, last year’s championship game between Baylor University and Gonzaga University racked up 16.9 million views, while the entire tournament in 2019 had an average of 10.5 million viewers per game.

The 64 team tournament consists of 4 regions (East,West,South and Midwest) with teams seeded from one to 16 with the higher-seeded teams playing the lower-seeded teams. The teams are seeded based on how they did in the regular season such as record, conference tournament results, and team statistics. 

Every year when the official tournament bracket is released, millions of people predict who the winner of each game will be, from the first round all the way up to the championship game. In last year’s tournament, 16.2 million people filled out a tournament prediction on ESPN’s tournament bracket challenge. Because there are 64 teams, the odds of predicting each game correctly all the way to the winner is 1 in 9.2 quintillion, according to

“I have never gotten close to a perfect bracket in the four years I have made March Madness brackets,” sophomore Ethan Motter said. “I always pick the teams that get upset in the first couple rounds, and I [always] have bad luck; hopefully, this year will be different.” 

In an Instagram poll made on Feb. 12, 64 out of 105 students said that they were making a March Madness bracket this year, and 60 out of 101 students said they have made a bracket in the past. 

“I started making March Madness bracket[s] in 2016, and since then, I have continued to make at least one every year,” sophomore Colin Nguyen said. “It is really fun for me because I am a huge college basketball fan, and I love to see how many correct picks I can get each year.” 

When it comes time to make tournament predictions, students have their own method to decide who they think will win each game, whether it be using statistics and previous regular season results, picking their favorite colleges to win the whole tournament or simply flipping a coin for every game. 

“I always pick Gonzaga University or Virginia University to go far in the tournament,” Motter said. “They are my favorite teams so I have them win most, if not all the games.”

For most students, the fun of March Madness is the games themselves and seeing how their predictions play out. Whether it be the upset prediction that came true or seeing a winner’s pick lose in the second round, the experience is still the best part for some students. 

“Me and my family always watch the games together,” sophomore Maddy Latham said. “Last year, we [had] a TV with one of the games on and two laptops with the other two games that would be on. March Madness is a really fun time because I get to participate with the people I love most.”