Most brackets are intact as March lacked madness

Sports

As March Madness heats up, this year’s bracket busters have been ice cold.

March is a wonderful time of year. As the weather warms up, everything thaws out and turns to green. It is a time of renewal and hope. There was very strong hope this year, especially coming from the 65 teams that made the NCAA division one men’s basketball championship tournament. Each team had their own stories and dreams of cutting down the nets in celebration.

With all of the intensity and excitement that comes from the teams in this dynamic tournament, just as much of the same comes from the fans. All the hoops hysteria of March has become a custom part of our society. Every person loves the tournament for different reasons and here at Missouri Western, it’s no exception.

“My favorite part is watching all the close games,” MWSU freshman Richard Brosemer said.

Since its birth in 1939, the tournament has gotten bigger and bigger every year. The “big dance” has built its own legacy. Each tournament told its own tale of dynasties, underdogs and dramatic finishes. Recently, however, friendly betting over the games has turned into national pastime. Each year friends, families, co-workers and peers gather together in March, and each individual makes their predictions on how the tournament will pan out. These “pools” have attracted college basketball fans of all kinds. Experts, beginners and even those who have no interest all fill out their brackets with the same hopes that the NCAA teams have: To be the champ.

Bracket pools are especially popular to college students. The chance of winning a little money is always nice. Even if there is no money involved though, bragging rights are sometimes even better. With the popularity of “Facebook” on the Internet, they had to get in on the madness as well. Facebook’s own global pool, as well as many other smaller network pools have drawn the attention of Facebook users.

Everyone has their own theories on filling out their own brackets. It has become like a science for some die hard college basketball fans. For others it is simply fun.

Most people fill out their brackets based on who they think will win each game. Brosemer agrees with this strategy.

“It all depends on who’s playing the best going into the tournament,” he said.

But some individuals find different ways to come up with their results. Some pick teams based on which school colors they like better. Others, like MWSU’s Steve Blakeley, pick teams based on faith in the toughness of the school’s mascot. For example, what would happen if a gator and a badger got in a fight? Most likely a gator would get the nod in this battle, so Florida would get a win over Wisconsin in these fan’s eyes.

Partying has also become a big part of March Madness. Many students get together to watch the games, have a couple drinks, and have a good time. Often students can’t even wait for the games to start, so they have a party before the tourney to fill out brackets. MWSU senior Andy Sacarro’s bracket strategy is a bit unorthodox but seems to work. Sacarro’s  bracket is ranked third in the Missouri Western Facebook pool.

“I like to fill them out drunk,” Sacarro said. “You can think a lot better and you don’t always pick the best teams, but it works.”

Some people put faith in the higher seeds of the tournament. Others like the lower seeds. One thing is for sure though; the underdogs are what make it so interesting. The upsets of the month of March, make it that much more fun to watch and even more fun to pick. The Cinderella stories of underdogs can often be dismissed as flukes. But the annual stories of luck always become the most thrilling parts of the tournament.

This year was actually missing the usual gown wearing damsel turned diva, showing up late to dance for the crown. The higher seeds were mainly dominant this year, and the outcomes of most match-ups were very predictable. Cinderella didn’t show up for the dance at all.

This has made the NCAA tournament selection committee very happy looking back at their seeding process that seems to be almost bulletproof. All four No. 1 seeds made it to the elite eight this year. With two No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 seeds advancing to the semi-finals, this has become the most anti-upset Final Four in nearly 15 years.

Cinderella’s absence from the big dance in Atlanta was in no way a bad thing though. Last weekend, four legit college basketball powerhouses, all with at least 30 wins this season,
squared off in the semi-final round. The fearsome foursome consisted of the UCLA Bruins, the Florida Gators, the Georgetown Hoyas and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The match-ups were set up to be a thing of beauty; the results were a little less than spectacular though.

“The Final Four games kind of sucked this year,” sophomore Drew Elliott said.

The Buckeyes and the Gators prevailed and squared off Monday night. If you are reading this article, then chances are you already know who won the championship.

So, you would think that this year’s bracket would have been an easy one to predict. It seems that just when you think you can count on a consistent underdog team to pull through with an upset again, the big dogs prevail. Sure, there were a couple of good upsets such as Duke’s first round loss, but there was no Cinderella team to make a championship run like George Mason University did last year.

When filling out a bracket, it really just comes down to a gut feeling, intuition and luck (the most important of the three being the latter). With such inconsistency from year to year in the outcome of the tournament, there is no other way to describe a perfectly picked bracket than as being lucky. Every year, a new team is placed in the record books, each team with its own epic saga of how it got there. Even though there was no Cinderella story this year, that didn’t mean that 2007’s college basketball tournament still couldn’t have a fairy tale ending.

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