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Opinion

March Madness leaves door open for many possible outcomes, upsets

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March 5, 2010

It is finally March, and for the college basketball fans this can only mean one thing: March Madness. Many of us, (myself included) will take the time to fill out a bracket of the 65 teams that will make the NCAA tournament, playing for a chance at the national title. For those who are new to the “system,” there are 65 teams who are seeded one through sixteen in each of the four regions. To fill out your bracket, you simply choose who you think will move on.

Sounds simple, right? In a perfect world the number one seed would always win as they are the favorite, but since the tournament began in 1979, only once (2008) did all no. 1 seeds make the Final Four. But what makes the difference between an average bracket and the friendly competition winner, is the gutsy decisions to pick the right upsets, where you feel stupid if you get it wrong, but look like a genius if you get it right.

While I am all for the underdogs and nothing makes me more excited to see the powerhouses such as North Carolina, Kentucky, and Duke falter, just do me one favor, and don’t pick a sixteen seed to beat the no. 1, as that has never happened in the tournament’s history. But who knows, maybe 2010 will be the year. There are many ways in which people may go about picking their favorite teams.

Some pick Alma Maters or teams from around the area. Others choose to go against big rivals, (my rule is to never advance a Big Ten team farther than the sweet sixteen). Others come from strange whims, for instance, I will never pick a team whose coach looks like the mascot, like the Duke Blue Devils.

2010 is an interesting field, as there is no overall favorite. None of the favorites are undefeated, and all have their weaknesses. Kentucky, for example, an early favorite for the title, starts three freshmen. Is that a weakness, or are they really that good? Over the last few weeks things have been shaken up, as the sixth ranked team in the nation, Purdue, lost their star Robbie Hummel for the season, which could mark for an early upset for one of the top teams.

When choosing your bracket, go with your gut and take some chances. Find a team and let the madness begin. There is no logic or no formula to picking the right bracket; it is all based on luck.

My pick for the 2010 Men’s NCCA Basketball Championship will be the Syracuse Orange. There is really no particular reason for this, but they are currently ranked first in the country. But I wanted to go with them as I came from a school that also had a “color” for a mascot (Scarlet). Yes, this doesn’t seem like a prominent reason to choose a team, but that only adds to the madness and the fun for the “bracketology” breakdown. Let the madness begin.

Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.