Mad March Madness

2023 men’s college basketball tournament makes history


Bryson Deal , Contributing Writer

College basketball fans rush to fill out their brackets each year in hopes of constructing the first perfect bracket. But, upsets occur left and right. A No. 16 seed could beat a No. 1 seed in an instant. This is what March Madness is all about, and as the name suggests, this year’s tournament was quite “mad.”

March Madness is a college basketball tournament that occurs once a year. It is a single-elimination tournament with 68 of the top teams battling for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship trophy, with the teams divided into four different regions. Four of the teams are eliminated before the first round, known as the First Four, bringing the total to 64 teams. 

Seven rounds of inter-regional games ensue until there is one team remaining from each region. These last four teams are fittingly known as the Final Four. The West region plays the East region, while the South plays the Midwest. The winners of those games face off for the national title. The setup is like any other bracket; the chances of guessing the results of this bracket, however, are slim to none.

There is a one in 9.2 quintillion chance of guessing a perfect March Madness bracket. With one No. 4 seed, two No. 5 seeds and one No. 9 seed making it to the Final Four this year, brackets quickly went down in flames. Very few could have possibly predicted such an outcome. Junior Chase Grable did not achieve perfection, but he did pick enough winners to reign victorious in the annual Print Media Workshop bracket challenge.

“I didn’t really know much about basketball, but I picked the teams that I liked the most to win, and somehow that ended up winning for our class,” Grable said.

With such a bizarre Final Four, surely someone new would win the championship game. Three out of the four remaining teams had never made the Final Four before this year. However, as luck would have it, No. 5 UConn won the tournament, winning their fifth title.

Also, in the tournament’s history, there have only ever been four years without a single first seed making the Final Four, this year being one of them. When No. 16 Fairleigh Dickenson beat No. 1 Purdue in the first round, many brackets were already doomed to fail. Then—to add to the cacophony of sadness for bracket-makers—No. 1 Kansas lost to No. 8 Arkansas, and No. 5 San Diego State took down No. 1 Alabama. For the final blow, No. 1 Houston fell to No. 5 Miami.

“My work has a March Madness bracket competition every year, so I get invested in the tournament easily. Once No. 1 Houston lost, I had no shot of winning,” senior Luke Snavely said.

Although the chances of guessing all outcomes of the tournament correctly are slim, this does not stop millions of people from trying. Roughly 70 million brackets were created and sent in for a chance to win the potential $1 billion grand prize. Nobody on record has even gotten close, let alone guessed all of the correct results.

With magical runs like No. 15 Princeton making the Sweet 16 and No. 5 San Diego State making the finals, “bracketeers” were destined to fail. However, there is always next year for one person to finally predict the unpredictable.