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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Unbelievable first weekend of NCAA tournament sets up much anticipated Sweet 16

Unbelievable first weekend of NCAA tournament sets up much anticipated Sweet 16


March Madness is the college sensation that sweeps through the nation for just three weeks out of the year. It is this phenomenon that captivates the attention of the nation where a high number of people set aside some time to form a bracket, to compete against their friends. It ranges from people who know absolutely nothing when it comes to college basketball to even those who have played basketball professionally.

The struggle for most people is that when the tournament starts, anything can happen and it is really hard to prepare your bracket for that.

There were over 13 million brackets made this year, an increase of 2 million from 2015. The NCAA tournament has hosted its bracket challenge since 1999. This is the 77th year that there has been an NCAA tournament and the frenzy that is March Madness. Often, there are games where a team is not supposed to make it a close game but then they suddenly upset a top tier team. This year there has been many upsets that have occurred, even the best bracket maker could not have predicted.  

In the East region, the biggest first round upset was when (14 seed) Stephen F. Austin State University  beat (3 seed) University of West Virginia  by double digits. In the second round of the tournament, (7 seed) Wisconsin nudged passed (2 seed) Xavier by three points.

In the South region the biggest upset has been (13 seed) University of Hawaii  sweeping (4 seed) University California  in the first round.

The Midwest region was filled with upset after upset. The biggest came on the second day of the bracket where (15 seed) Middle Tennessee state University  beat (2 seed) Michigan State University by nine points. This region was a shocker when two teams in the sweet 16 ended up being seed higher than the 9 seed.

In the West region, the biggest shocker was that (12 seed) Yale University beat (5 seed) Baylor University .    Some teams show up at the tournament and play the best game of their college career and are able to beat any top tier team. These teams are considered underdogs in the early stages, but the unpredictability that is the tournament, is surely just crazy. While others perform just as good as they are seeded, whether that be as a lower or high seed.

To pick a perfect bracket, is there really such thing as an expert? Yeah, you may “know” more than most people, but when it comes down to the NCAA bracket time, there is no predictability. So do not feel bad if you made a bracket that got busted after the first day of games. According to ESPN bracket challenge only 0.1 percent of the 13 million contestants had a perfect bracket after the first round. That is why everyone does this because no matter your knowledge of college basketball, you still have the same odds of having a perfect bracket.