Bob Wason and Rob Dotterer
Brackets busted yet? After four days and two rounds of March Madness, the tournament has certainly lived up to its name. With big name teams like Syracuse, Duke, and Kansas falling in the opening weekend, it’s hard to find a person who wouldn’t describe their bracket as “busted.” That is especially true for J-DHS, as Syracuse and Duke were among the most popular picks by the students to cut down the nets. But not everyone has lost hope in their brackets. People who chose teams like top-seeded Florida and other favorites like Louisville and Michigan State may not be in such bad shape, as all three of the teams advanced to the Sweet 16, avoiding upset bids from Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Harvard.
Syracuse losing in the round of 32 damaged many brackets at J-DHS, as they were the most popular pick among students to win the title. Sophomore Micheal Schwedes was one of those students. “I really thought this was the year for Syracuse,” said Schwedes; “now my favorite team is out of the tournament and my bracket is over. At least Duke lost, too.” Another person who had Syracuse winning it all was junior Brady Wing. “I wasn’t that surprised they lost,” he said; “they’ve been playing their worst basketball of the year. The only reason I chose them is because they’re my favorite team, but I knew they most likely wouldn’t win the championship.” Syracuse wasn’t the only team that ruined some brackets at J-DHS.
Duke lost to Mercer in the second round, which was the most shocking upset of opening weekend. And for most people, it had a very negative effect on their bracket. “It hurt a lot; I had them in my Elite Eight,” said junior Jake Kalbus. Junior Isaiah Williams shared Kalbus’s feelings; “it kind of hurt, I had them going pretty far,” said Williams; “hopefully.\, I still have a chance.”
With the early exits of teams like Syracuse and Duke, the door was opened for some Cinderella teams to put together a run in the tournament. Three double-digit seeds, no. 10 Stanford, no. 11 Dayton, and no. 11 Tennessee, have advanced to the Sweet 16. But the question remains, which of these teams will be the tournament’s Cinderella? Freshmen Lucas Binder thinks it will be Dayton. “They looked really good in their games, and beat some of the best teams (Ohio State and Syracuse),” said Binder; “I wouldn’t be surprised if they won another game, or even made it to the Final Four.” Sophomore Jordan VanStry disagrees and believes Tennessee is the reigning underdog. “They are really good and I have liked them for awhile,” said Vanstry; “I even chose them to make it to the Final Four in my bracket.”
Many of the predictions made by students at J-DHS have been very accurate, and others have been far off. “The high seeds are always overrated,” said junior Hillel Matasar; “Villanova does not deserve a two seed. They should be lower, and Louisville should be higher.” So far, his prediction has been accurate, with Villanova losing in the round of 32, and Louisville advancing to the Sweet 16. Other predictions have not been as accurate as Matasar’s. Junior Ben Wipper chose no. 13 seed Manhattan to win it all because of their “inner city toughness.” The Jaspers of Manhattan lost in their opening game to Louisville. Junior Mack Palin also had a bold prediction. Palin chose no. 12 seed Harvard to win the title because they are “the smartest team in the whole tournament, and that’s the most important thing.” Harvard did win one game in the tournament before falling to Michigan State.
Teachers at J-DHS are also getting into the Madness. Sports Literature teacher Ms. Romeiser said, “It’s great to watch the tournament, even though my favorite team, Marquette, is out. I would always sacrifice my bracket to see a great game or an upset.” She also has made a bracket competition for her family and her students on ESPN’s “Tournament Challenge”. “I allow my Sports Literature student and the juniors to be in the competition,” she said; “It’s a fun thing to do. I update my students throughout the day on how their brackets are doing and all the scores.” Another teacher who is running a bracket competition is special education teacher Kevin Kalfass. “It’s a wonderful time of year,” said Kalfass, who is eight-time defending champion of his bracket contest. The bracket competition is among him and eight of his students, and the winner gets a free Subway lunch.
The NCAA championship game is April 6 on CBS.