Men’s NCAA March Madness tournament begins: Early upsets ruin perfect brackets

Jake Gay, Reporter

      After being canceled due to Covid-19 a year ago, the NCAA men’s basketball Tournament is happening this year. The entire tournament is being played all in one location for the first time ever.

     Committee members acknowledged the controversy regarding the teams saying “we chose the teams that had the best resumes to be in the tournament.” 

     The unprecedented selection of teams this year was partially because of the selection committee factoring in teams being quarantined and how many games they were able to play during the regular season.   

     Although some teams received controversial selections, the Gonzaga men’s basketball team was selected first overall. This marks their tenth consecutive time being selected for the NCAA tournament. The bulldogs achieved a perfect record during the 2020-2021 regular season. 

    Notably, Kentucky was left out of the “big dance” for the first time in over five years. Coach John Calipari called his team’s performance this season “unacceptable.”

     Though beating the Notre Dame basketball team just days before, players on the Duke basketball team tested positive for Covid. Thus effectively ending their season and chances at making a run for the championship. 

     As with any year, millions across the country are filling out their brackets. Warren Buffett is continuing his million-dollar perfect bracket challenge. There were over 3 million brackets submitted to the ESPN bracket challenge, after just the first round there were zero perfect brackets left. This feat of having a “perfect bracket” has only been accomplished one time since the tournament started. Senior Dylan Jablon said“I took Baylor, they got the best guards in the country and play good defense.”

     The University of Maryland took the 10 seed, after a disastrous start to their regular season. After an upset win over The University of Connecticut, they were swiftly beaten by the University of Alabama in the second round. Head coach for Maryland Mark Turgeon joked about Alabama calling them “the fifth number one seed of the tournament.” 

     Senior Austin Bach said the loss to Alabama was “very disappointing, I thought that Maryland could have gone a little further in the tournament. But I’m happy with how far they went.”

     Those at North Harford who are following the tournament and have filled out a bracket typically choose Illinois or Gonzaga, according to a poll of North Harford students. Illinois however, was taken out early in the tournament making it one of the first “bracket busters”of the tournament. 

     As the tournament continues throughout March, teams will play nearly every other day to try and win a title in this truly unparalleled season and tournament. The final four is set to start during the first week of April, with Gonzaga still being the favorite to win.