March Madness!!

College basketball fans hope for magic in March.

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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – MARCH 20: A general view of a ‘March Madness’ logo is seen during practice before the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 20, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The most anticipated part of college hoops is almost here… the NCAA tournament, better known as March Madness. With just a few weeks left before the start of the tournament, students and teachers gave their opinions, expectations, and more about the tournament.

Girls’ varsity basketball coach and social studies teacher Thomas Williams anticipates what will happen in March.

“I’m a big fan of Mizzou – They could make a run with their experience, but they seem to break my heart yearly,” he said 

Our state school, Mizzou will make the tournament this year. Another Missouri school, SLU is on the bubble. And, the University of Illinois will make the tournament for the first time in 8 years.

A dream for many teams and fans of teams is to make it to the Final Four, which makes them a top-tier team for that year and creates expectations for years to come. Junior Logan Knolhoff gave her predictions on teams who will make it to the Final Four this year. 

“I think the Final Four will be Gonzaga, Baylor, Arkansas, and Michigan. I think Gonzaga will be the winner because they have looked strong all year long,” she said.

Sophomore William Sorg agrees that Gonzaga will win this year. This year, the undefeated Bulldogs are 26-0 and are led by Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert who hope to continue their undefeated season.

“I think Gonzaga will win the Natty, and the Final Four will be Baylor, Gonzaga, Ohio State, and Illinois,” he said.

Filling out brackets is also a common yearly tradition for sports fans in order to try to beat other people, have fun, and try to make the first perfect bracket. This year, fans will have to wait till March 14 for Selection Sunday, to fill those brackets out. 

Williams said he also enjoys doing this before the tournament starts and jokes about competing with other teachers.

“I fill out multiple brackets. I love to pick upsets and get bragging rights in Social Studies. That isn’t saying much, since Mr. Weiss doesn’t know anything about sports in general,” he said.

Fans always get excited during this time of year, but not in 2020. Then, COVID-19 was very new to the U.S. However, the virus did considerable damage to sports and caused the cancelation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

“I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to watch my hometown team, Mizzou, win it all,” said sophomore Brett Thoelke.

Despite Thoelke’s hopes for last year, Mizzou probably wouldn’t have made the Tournament, going 15-16 and not being projected to make the tournament.

Sorg said he was disappointed to have to miss out on the NCAA tournament last year.

“I was extremely surprised and annoyed, mostly because of the teams that don’t usually make it as far as they did. Also, I love to watch the upsets, so I missed that,” he said.

Fans face problems during the month of March, as the games kick-off, teams play during the school day. The First Four games will be on Thursday, March 18. 

“If the games are on during school, I always watch them on my phone. I’ve gotten caught a few times, but it’s worth it. March Madness is life,” said senior basketball fan Eric Boles.

Paying attention in class and watching the first round games can be difficult, but some students find ways to get around this.

“I always double-task. I watch the games during class while doing my work. I think most of my teachers were watching too so they didn’t mind,” said Sorg.

And it’s not just students who are unproductive during March Madness, (before the 2019 tournament) employers in the U.S. estimated they would lose $13.3 billion in productivity, per Fox Business.

However fans spend their time during the tournament, it is always a great experience, especially for Boles who boasts about his success against his friends in the past.

“Last tournament, I picked the entire Final Four correctly (in 2019). I’m excited to go for it again and most likely beat my friends and win a few hundred bucks,” he said.