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March Madness Bracket Bonanza


Every March, millions of people make a bracket for March Madness. According to the NCAA, the odds of creating a perfect bracket (predicting all 67 games correctly) are one in 9.2 quintillion. This is assuming that every game is a 50-50 chance of either team winning, even though the 16 seed has only won 2 times in the tournament’s history. 

USA Today Sports offers $1 million to the creator of a perfect bracket, but obviously, this has never been done. With all the excitement surrounding brackets, many analysts attempt to use statistics and trends in their favor, and are shocked when they figure out that correlation doesn’t equal causation. 

Sometimes when making a bracket, overall knowledge of college basketball doesn’t even help at all. For example, in 2015 a 6th grader named Sam Holtz won the March Madness bracket challenge. When asked about his winning picks, he responded, “I picked Michigan State to go far because their coach Tom Izzo is Italian, and I’m Italian. I picked UCLA to make it to the sweet sixteen because I visited their campus and I really like the school.” 

This just goes to show that filling out a March Madness bracket is an art, not a science. The key is to go with your gut because the upsets are always going to happen, and it’s up to you to predict them. All of that being said, I am going to tell you some of my favorite teams and upsets in this tournament.

My first prediction is that Yale (11-seed) will upset Auburn (6-seed) in the first round because of their momentum from the Ivy League tournament championship win. Then, they will advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they will ultimately lose to the number one overall defending champion, UConn Huskies. 

In the West Region, I am predicting that Grand Canyon (12-seed) will defeat St. Mary’s (5-seed). St. Mary’s is a very weak 5 seed, and they don’t face much competition in their West Coast Conference, and Grand Canyon is likely hungrier to win due to their lower seed. Many times, momentum determines success in the tournament. 

Another upset is New Mexico (11-seed) over Clemson (6-seed). This pick is largely based on my intuition, because I don’t have much confidence in ACC teams, regardless of their seed, because of how weak the conference is this year. 

None of those teams, though, will have anything on Michigan State, who I have predicted will make the final four. The Spartans often make a deep run in March Madness, mainly due to their Hall of Fame coach in Tom Izzo. Additionally, they were ranked as the fourth overall team in the preseason AP Poll.

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