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Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

March Madness bracket frenzy proves to be risky gamble for fans

It’s the most pivotal tournament of the year in the college basketball world.As 68 NCAA teams prepare to compete for the NCAA men’s Division I Basketball National Championship, the bracket flurry begins.


The championship game is hosted in AT&T Center in North Texas on Saturday, April 5 and Monday, April 7.

Sixty-eight teams are divided into four different regions, with at least 16 teams in each region.

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The top four teams likely to be seeded No. 1 this year are Villanova (28-3), Arizona (28-3), Wichita State (34-0) and Florida (29-2).

A 16-seed team has never defeated a No. 1-seed in the first round, and only twice since 2001 has a No. 16-seed stayed within 10 points of a top seed.

Choosing No. 1-seed teams to advance to the Final Four has not been a bad bet.

All No.1 seeds have made it to the Final Four every year except 1980, 2006 and 2011. To add on, No. 11 is the lowest seed ever to make it to the Final Four.

Thirty-one of 32 conferences hold champion tournaments to determine which team receives the automatic qualification.

The Ivy League is the only conference that does not compete in a post-season tournament; the automatic bid goes to the regular season conference champion.

The current AP top 10 poll for NCAA men’s Division I basketball in descending order starts with No. 1 Florida (29-2), Wichita St. (34-0), Villanova (28-3), Arizona (28-3), Louisville (26-5), Virginia (25-6), Duke (24-7), Michigan (23-7), San Diego St. (27-3), Kansas (23-8).

According to the Bleacher Report, teams like Syracuse, Kansas and Duke will topple during the tournament due to an overall lack of shooting and consistency.

In all honesty, we have seen in previous tournaments that season statistics do not determine a team’s success in the tournament.

For example, remember in the 2013 March Madness Tournament when  No. 15-seed, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, pulled a huge upset against No. 2-seed Georgetown?

Or when the No. 13-seed La Salle Explorers defeated the No. 4-seed Kansas State Wildcats?

My point is, you cannot judge a team by its overall rankings prior to the tournament.

You also cannot judge a team by the seed they receive for the tournament.

Anything goes.

The tournament is called “March Madness” for a reason.

One team I plan to  keep an eye on is the Wichita State Shockers. With a perfect 34-0  season thus far, the Shockers  impressed the nation with their outstanding defense and their ball-screen coverages.

Wichita State is ranked No. 12 in points allowed (59.1), No. 17 in rebounds (26.7) and No. 35 in blocks (5.1).

Speaking of defensive teams, the Florida Gators are ranked No. 5 overall in allowing  points (58.5) and Arizona is ranked No. 6 overall (58.7).

All three teams have a high probability of receiving the No. 1-seed in the tournament.

Think you can make the best bracket?

Before you try to assume which teams will make it to the Final Four, there are some things to take into consideration in the creation of your bracket.

For instance, the chance of wagering the perfect tournament bracket is 1 in 35 billion people. Compare that to winning the Powerball Lottery, which is 1 in 195 million.

Statistics show that more than $6 to $12 billion is illegally wagered annually on the NCAA  Basketball Tournament each year.

As much as 25 percent of illegal wagers placed on college basketball games each year come from the three-week March Madness tournament.

The prediction is up to you. How do you judge a team? Would it be based on the liking of a school, shooting percentage, record, players or statistics?

March Madness is in sight, as 68 teams will soon compete for one title.

Selection Sunday begins Sunday, March 16, when the NCAA announces which teams are in the tournament and the seed they’ll be given ,along with a schedule.

The three-week tournament begins with the first round on Tuesday, March 18.

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