Tips for a successful bracket
As the end of March draws near, the madness is set to begin with the NCAA basketball tournament. The tournament, often referred to as March madness, consists of 64 teams with the winner becoming the national champion for division one men’s college basketball. Play begins March 21 and lasts through April 8, is viewed by millions of Americans each year, and is one of the most bet on sporting events.
Duke’s dominance of the regular season with a record of 29-5 earned them the top seed in the tournament, while Virginia, North Carolina, and Gonzaga earned the other top seeds in their respective region/division.
This season in particular had a lot of debate over if the top four teams all deserved to be there, with some arguing that Gonzaga was not as good of a team as Michigan State or the other two seeds, University of Tennessee, University of Michigan, and the University of Kentucky. Each team is selected into the tournament by a committee which decides the best teams in the country and ranks the teams as they see fit.
Duke is heavily favored to win with all 20% of bets being cast favoring the Blue Devils. The team is lead by a trio of freshmen, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish, with Williamson and Barrett both expected to be top three draft picks in 2019. The only team this season to beat Duke when they were not missing one of these three players was Gonzaga when they beat Duke 89-87 in an early season thriller. Despite that, Duke is still expected to beat Gonzaga if the two teams meet in the final four.
While one and two seeds are often the favorites to win the tournament, Houston and Texas Tech, both three seeds, also have a chance of making it the the championship game if they can make it out of their region of the bracket.
One thing about the tournament that most people have in common is that everyone loves to pick an underdog to go far. While it does not happen every year, usually at least one lower seeded team makes it past the sweet sixteen into the elite eight.
Last year Loyola had the perfect Cinderella story and made a final four appearance as an eleven seed. Bracketology experts have given Wofford, Buffalo, and Saint Mary’s the highest chance of upsetting a team early on and make a fun late into the tournament. Buffalo could have a great chance of moving on past the sweet sixteen due to them being in the Western region, which is considered the easiest in this year’s tournament.
Fans of sports always enjoy rooting for their hometown team, and basketball fans in Ohio can root for seventh seed Cincinnati, or eleventh seed Ohio State throughout the tournament. On Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 24, multiple first and second round games will take place at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus, including the Cincinnati Bearcats versus Iowa.
Even though it’s near impossible to pick a perfect bracket, millions of people still try to each year. While no one has been successful at that yet, the tournament is still exonerating to witness. March Madness can be the most stressful time of the year for any sports fan, but it wouldn’t be madness if it wasn’t, right?