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Bracketology Disected

March Madness in action.
Todd Wickersty
March Madness in action.

There is nothing quite like the pounding of a ball on the hardwood of a basketball court, as thousands of fans revel in the ensconcing game of college basketball that fans have come to know and love. For the fans, March Madness has captivated the sports world, considered one of the best playoff setups out of all the sports leagues. For the players, it has to be a truly unrivaled experience. The fan fiction, the intensity, the meaningfulness, and a goal reached for these young student athletes; Something that they can tell their grandchildren years down the road. A universal sporting event that takes players, coaches, fans, and media across the country to see who will be crowned champion. 

For those who do not know, the tournament being discussed is the NCAA Tournament — more commonly known as March Madness. This past Sunday was “Selection Sunday,” where teams see if they made it into the 68 team bracket comprised of four regions. This year, the selection committee did not have an easy job. There will always be somebody that is unhappy being left out of the big tournament, and this year was no different. The four number one seeds were straight forward with Uconn, Houston, North Carolina, and Purdue all being named top seeds weeks ago by most experts in the field. However, after that, the waters get a bit more murky, with certain teams getting unlucky in seeding and bracket position.

The defending Champions, the Uconn Huskies, face what many experts have dubbed the “region of death.” It will be a tough road for the Huskies to try to repeat as tournament champions with a region littered with talent. Teams like Illinois, FAU, BYU, Iowa State, Washington St, and Auburn, are all teams that are capable of making a run to the top. However, if Dan Hurley’s Huskies have proven anything, it is that his players have been a part of one of the most consistent, cohesive teams in the country, which is what got them to cutting the nets last time around.  

Speaking of the Big East region, the Conference has the most to be disappointed about going into March with three teams that many experts had not predicted of. Several teams feel snubbed of a place in this tournament, including St. Johns, Seton Hall, and Providence. St. Johns, under first year Head Coach Rick Pitino fell short, despite catching fire to end the season on a five game win streak. Seton Hall, was the biggest shock, with a Net Ranking that was one of the highest in the field under Shaheen Holloway, will also miss out. Finally, Providence, dealing with their first year without historic program builder Ed Cooley, felt like they were snubbed after having a strong run in the Big East.

It wouldn’t also be March Madness without some sleeper teams, and some upsets. It isn’t called March Madness for nothing. Mcneese State, under former LSU head coach Will Wade, will have a fun matchup with Gonzaga, which has the possibility to bust some brackets. Also James Madison University, has an exciting first round game with Wisconsin, that is sure to be one of the most entertaining in the First Round. Other bracket busters to look out for would be Drake and a fascinating New Mexico team, coached by Rick Pitino’s son, Richard Pitino, and should prove to be a tall test for Clemson, who comes out of a weak ACC this year.

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About the Contributor
Julian Zolenski
Julian Zolenski, Staff Writer
Julian Zolenski is a Senior at Forest Hills Eastern. This is his second year being on the Hawk Herald Staff. Julian enjoys a number of different things about his busy life including working as a line cook, playing with his dog, and hanging out with his friends. Right now Julian has a dream of being a Sports Commentator. He intends to accomplish this goal by majoring in Broadcast Journalism in his college future. Julian knows this is a lofty goal, but he will not let anything stop him from accomplishing it.   
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