A Look Into This Year’s March Madness


Jeff Turner, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

By Harrison Kaltenbach

Clank! The Kentucky point guard’s 3 point shot hits the rim and Hassan Drame, the forward for the Saint Peter’s Peacocks basketball team, grabs the rebound. There are 5 seconds left. Kentucky is down by 6. There is nothing they can do. The 15 seeded Saint Peter’s Peacocks have just knocked off the 2 seeded Kentucky Wildcats. Everyone across America is shocked. 

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness, is a college basketball tournament where 64 division one schools compete in a bracket style tournament to determine that year’s college basketball champion. The first March Madness was in 1939. Back in the 1939 tournament, there were just 8 teams and Oregon ended up defeating Ohio State in the finals 46-33. Since the first tournament 83 years ago, March Madness has turned into a pop culture phenomenon. In the 2021 March Madness finals between Baylor and Gonzaga, 16.92 million people tuned in to CBS to watch the game. Even people who aren’t basketball fans get invested in March Madness through the crazy nature of the tournament. Moments like Christian Laettner’s buzzer beater in the 1992 Elite 8 or the 16 seeded UMBC upsetting the 1 seeded Virginia in 2018 have been cemented as classic moments in sports history. One of the most popular elements of March Madness is people making their predictions for the tournament.

“My favorite thing about March Madness is filling out brackets. It’s always fun to compete in bracket groups with friends” said freshman Jack Stewart.

People filling out brackets is a staple of March Madness. In 2021, 16.2 million people filled out brackets on ESPN.com. Shortly after Selection Sunday, many people pick their brackets, and make bracket competitions with their friends to see who can predict the tournament most accurately. Whether it’s the ESPN analysts that devote their lives to college basketball, or the people that know next to nothing about the sport, many, many people make their predictions. Sometimes, the tournament is so unpredictable that the clueless people often predict more games correctly than the experts. One storyline that centers around every March Madness, is tracking if anyone can fill out a completely perfect bracket. Filling out a perfect bracket is something that many people think could actually happen, but the odds are slim to none. The odds of filling out a perfect bracket are 9.2 quintillion. Those odds never stop people from trying. 

The 2022 March Madness tournament is happening right now and the field has been cut down from 64 to 12 teams. With so few teams left, the favorites to win the tournament are becoming much clearer as the tournament goes along. Thomas Harris, who plays basketball himself and is an avid basketball fan said, “I think Houston will win the tournament this year because they are fast and athletic.” Houston is a 5 seed who recently knocked off 1 seeded Gonzaga who was a favorite to win it all. Other favorites to win this year are Duke, Kansas, and UCLA. One of the big stories of this year’s tournament is 15 seeded Saint Peters. They pulled off a massive upset against 2 seeded Kentucky in the first round then 7 seeded Murray State in the second round making them just the third 15 seed in history to make the Sweet 16. 

In this day and age, one of the most important skills you need to have as a basketball player is 3 point shooting. Pallav Achar said “I love seeing all the great shooters in the tournament.” The amount of 3 point shots being taken in games have been rising and rising in recent years. The 3 point shot has become such a large component in the NBA and College basketball. Many upsets in the tournament happen when inferior teams get hot from the 3 point line. For instance when UMBC upset Virginia in 2018, UMBC shot 50% from the 3 point line which is a phenomenal shooting performance. On the other hand, Virginia shot 18% from the 3 point line which is a very poor shooting performance. Truly anyone can beat anyone in basketball and a big part of that is 3 point shooting.

March Madness is a major sports event that occurs every March that produces moments that are remembered for ages. During the tournament, things happen that you would never have thought would have been possible. The sheer amount of teams in the tournament creates a very eventful and enjoyable tournament to watch. Between the buzzer beaters, upsets, close games, crazy finishes, and heroic performances, March Madness has become a beloved event that almost everyone looks forward to every March.