March Madness concludes; The Virginia Cavaliers are National Champions

Anthony Brack, Staff Writer

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March Madness is a basketball tournament where millions of people make a bracket in an attempt to predict the National Champion and compete with friends and family for money or bragging rights. This year’s number one picked team was the Duke Blue Devils with 39.2%, according to ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, but the Virginia Cavaliers won the title in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

The Final four ended up being Texas Tech, Michigan State, Auburn, Virginia. Nationwide, 7,928 brackets got the Final Four correct. That is just .04 percent of participants, according to ESPN.

Each team in the Final Four had to win four consecutive games to get there.  Texas Tech won five to be in the National championship, and Virginia won six the become the National Champions. 

Many people predicted Duke and University of North Carolina(UNC) would be for the fourth time this season, according to NCAA.

The number-one seeds from the tournament were Duke, UNC, Gonzaga, and Virginia. The number-two seeds were Kentucky, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Michigan. The odds to win were in favor of Duke, who had 11/5  odds.  They were followed by Gonzaga with 5/1  odds, UNC with 6/1 odds, and Virginia with 8/1 odds.  Closing out the top eight favored teams were Kentucky (12/1), Michigan State (15/1),  Tennessee (16/1) and  Michigan (20/1). 

Though 70 million tournament brackets were formally made this year, the odds of a perfect bracket are slim to put it lightly.  The odds of picking all 63 games correctly is 1 in 9.2 quintillion. On average, fans bet $29 per bracket and contribute to the $10.4 billion that was be bet overall on March Madness, according the American Gaming Association. 

Some staff members at Mayfield Middle participated in the madness. The most common choice to win it all was Duke, which was chosen by 37 percent, followed  by Virginia at 25 percent. Many of the staff members stated that they did not do well on their brackets.  Ms. Groner said that her favorite part of March Madness is “the competition between friends and family.”  Mr. Paydo said, “I really enjoy the weekend prior to the tournament, starting with Selection Sunday.” He also said that he loves hearing about the upsets or “bracket busters!”  Another staff member, Mr. Lubin explain that he’s drawn to “the atmosphere of college sports and the excitement of a one-and-done tournament.”

Other staff members said that they like the upsets. Some specifically commented on Duke losing to Michigan State and Auburn beating UNC.  Mr. Paydo was surprised by Auburn: “After nearly losing in the first round, Auburn had impressive wins over UNC and Kentucky.”  Mrs. Williams stated, “My final four was Duke, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky; so my bracket got pretty busted…This whole tournament was a surprise to me!”

For most, the fun is in the pursuit of being the winning bracket.  Mr. Rapposelli reflected, “If Michigan State took down  Texas Tech, I would have been in the money!”  It are near misses like these that keep fans coming back to contribute to the $10 billion betting week each year.