Unpredictable upsets and pairings leaves the title of national champions to anyone
Mollie Herron | News Editor
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March is over, which means the infamous NCAA Division I basketball tournament, March Madness is coming to an end. On April 4, 2022 the championship game for men’s basketball will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana at Ceasar’s Superdome. The women’s teams will play their championship game on April 3 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Every year, competitions are held to see who can make the most correct guesses as to who will win each game of the tournament. Large brackets are filled out and entered into different game websites where winners are awarded prizes or money.
The NCAA tracks the “perfect brackets” that people fill out this year, but unfortunately there are no perfect brackets left. The competition started with 20 million brackets that were filled out online for the men’s tournament, but after just the first day the number dropped to 192. With University of Richmond beating University of Iowa, New Mexico State University beating University of Connecticut and Saint Peter’s University beating University of Kentucky in huge upsets, only those 192 were left in the competition for the perfect bracket. The upsets continued and started taking down brackets, and after the University of Notre Dame took out University of Alabama, there were only four brackets left until Iowa State University beat Louisiana State University and there were officially no more perfect brackets.
For the women’s tournament there are also no more perfect brackets after starting with over 1 million. After their first day the number of contenders dropped to 28, and after the entire first round only three remained. After the upset of Creighton University beating Iowa there was only a single perfect bracket left until Iowa State beat Louisiana State ending the possibility of a perfect bracket this year.
Based on bracket numbers, more people are interested in the men’s tournament, and this year, due to so many upsets, there were arguments for why every team in the Sweet 16 could end up being in the Final Four. Analysts are saying Texas Tech University has the best defense while University of Miami has all the parts to make for a great offense. Gonzaga University was the betting favorite and most people predicted them to make it to the Final Four, but the fact that Duke University is one of the only three teams to beat them this season made their potential matchup unpredictable.
The Sweet 16 played their games and viewers watched a few incredible upsets and we saw Gonzaga lose to University of Arkansas and not make it to the Elite Eight. All season Gonzaga was revered by fans and analysts as being one of the best teams and had a real shot at winning it all, but they fell short and lost 74-68.
St Peter’s ranked No. 15 beat No. 3 Purdue University 67-64 so they could play University of North Carolina in their Elite Eight game after their own upset of 73-66 against University of California Los Angeles. After their games, Miami and University of Kansas advanced to the Elite Eight as well. Duke, as expected by many, took out Texas Tech to get them to their match against Arkansas.
In the fight for the Final Four, Duke beat Arkansas 78-69; Villanova University beat University of Houston 50-44; North Carolina beat St Peter’s 69-49; and Kansas beat Miami 76-50. Villanova is set to play Kansas on Saturday April 2 and later the same day Duke plays North Carolina to see who will earn their spot in the championship game.