The Unpredictable March Madness Returns


Courtesy of AP

No. 15 Princeton celebrates after defeating No. 2 Arizona 59-55 in Sacramento, Calif, on March 16.

Kody Moore, Staff writer

As college basketball season peaks in March, millions of fans across the country turn their attention to the annual NCAA tournament, affectionately known as March Madness.

The event is known for its unpredictable outcomes and the thrills it gives spectators. Every team has a chance to pull off an upset and advance far in the competition because anything can happen on any given day.

The tournament brings together teams from various conferences and regions of the country, giving basketball fans the opportunity to witness how various playing strategies compare to one another.

With the expansion of the tournament in 1985 the likelihood of accurately predicting every game in a single-elimination tournament involving 68 teams is extremely unlikely. Jeffrey Bergen, a mathematics lecturer at DePaul University, calculated that the likelihood of making a perfect bracket is about 1 in 9.2 quintillions.

“I made my brackets considering the team’s history in the tournament,” sophomore Charlie Kurzym said, “I also thought about the team’s ability to create leads and maintain them throughout the game.”

But just like Kurzym, you can do all of that research to be nowhere from being perfect. After the crazy upsets on the first night of the tournament, including No. 4 seed Virginia losing to No. 13 seed Furman and No. 15 Princeton beating No. 2 seed Arizona, there are less than 0.0063% perfect brackets remaining after the first day, according to NCAA March Madness.

March Madness is a widespread cultural phenomenon affecting many people off the field. It’s a time to gather with friends and family, fill out brackets and root for your beloved teams.

“We have a tradition with my family to see who makes the best bracket every year,” sophomore Tristian Lance said. “ It usually ends with my brother winning because he is a sports journalist.”

There isn’t a clear favorite to win the championship this year, but teams like Alabama with Brandon Miller and Purdue with Zach Edey are the favorites in the eyes of people all over the world, including students at Edwardsville High School.

“I ended up picking Alabama to win the title because of how good they are this season,” Kurzym said, “It feels like destiny for them to win the National Championship.”