By Terrence Echols
With the most exciting part of the college basketball season approaching, students and faculty at Jamesville-Dewitt High School should prepare for the excitement that is March Madness. To get in the spirit, there will be a March Madness themed week starting Monday, March 16, 2015, and students should get their brackets ready.
The first official bracket comes out on Sunday, March 15, and students should make sure to have their eyes peeled to the television because the entire school will be able to fill out a bracket after giving a $2 donation to charities that support pediatric cancer. Students may give a donation of any amount, but will only be allowed to fill out one bracket. These will then be pitted against others to receive prizes, which Corporate Communications teacher and School Store adviser Terri Eaton thinks is important, as the students who win will also get bragging rights over their peers.
There is also going to be a display over by the Four Corners that will allow students to view results and standings. There will also be a mascot display for students and teachers to observe pictures and facts about the many extraordinary mascots in college sports. Many people probably have the same questions that Mrs. Eaton has like, “What is a sooner?” or “Why is (Syracuse) an orange?”
If you don't want to spend your March biting your nails and constantly checking your brackets, you can participate in another school March Madness themed contest. This year, each homeroom in the school will select one of the 64 teams at random that are participating in this year’s NCAA tournament. Students will then bring in their own supplies to decorate the doors with their team's colors. Losing teams will have their doors decorated by the team who was victorious. “We wanted to do something that will bring the school together,” said computer teaching assistant Hayley Nies, who came up with the idea, and passed it on to the School Store and Corporate Communications class. For many students, March is not one of their favorite months. “March is a long month,” both Ms. Nies and Mrs. Eaton added. It doesn't help that there aren’t any days off in the month. March is also in the middle of the third marking period where work is considered more difficult. “We just want to make March fun,” said Mrs. Eaton.
Even if you don't fill out a bracket or your homeroom gets knocked out early, you can still participate in the excitement that is March Madness. With the tournament fast approaching, many students remember their favorite tournament moments from years past. Duke losing to Lehigh in 2012 and Mercer in 2014 in the NCAA tournament have been memorable moments for sophomore Eric Antosh. Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison’s game winning shot against Wisconsin in the Final Four last year was a favorite for senior Isaiah Williams. Sophomore Andrew Leclair remembers staying up late to watch Syracuse beat Uconn in six overtimes back in the Big East tournament 2009.
When asked about what their favorite tournament moment was, many students did not include Syracuse’s trip to the Final Four in 2013. Could that be because no one appreciated their title run? Or maybe it has to do with the self-imposed postseason ban that this year’s team is under due to current investigations by the NCAA? Many students are disappointed about how this year’s Syracuse team has underachieved compared to previous years. “Who am I supposed to root for?” said sophomore Andrew Leclair. “I’m curious as to what could be going on behind the scenes,” said sophomore Matt Carlin. Fans are also excited because next year’s recruiting class is believed to be the best class that coach Jim Boeheim has had so far. “Hopefully (the ban) is just going to be for one year, (since) they're going to be good next year,” said freshman Luke Smith.
As expected, this college basketball season has been filled with excitement. Whether it’s your favorite team making a national championship run or you don't even want to admit what your favorite team is because of poor performance, this year has been surprising. Many people believe that Kentucky is the most exciting team this year because of their outstanding undefeated record and uncommon platoon substitution system. The system is different because coach John Calipari is able to substitute all five players on the court at a time and essentially not lose any edge in the talent he has out there. “Kentucky is going to win the national championship because they're just too deep and experienced,” said Sala.
Almost every year there are a few teams in postseason tournaments that seem have the basketball gods on their side. There have been many instances where a team who was very popular and heavily favored over another has lost to a team some have never heard of. While many predict who will win the national championship a few will try to figure out which underrated team could end up challenging some of the bigger schools. “I think Colgate could make a run this year if they make the tournament,” said Carlin. Sala thinks that North Florida University could make a run in the NCAA tournament. Antosh believes that Harvard University can surprise people this year. “I believe a lot of teams can make a run, but i think it will be Belmont,” said freshman Taku Laclair. Although they are from a major conference, Williams believes West Virginia will be a Cinderella.