March Madness Returns After a Two Year Wait

The+undefeated+Gonzaga+Bulldogs+enter+as+the+best+team+in+the+nation+and+the+favorite+to+win+the+tournament.+They+will+look+to+capture+the+first+National+Championship+in+their+school%27s+history.

Spokeman Review article by Jim Meehan

The undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs enter as the best team in the nation and the favorite to win the tournament. They will look to capture the first National Championship in their school’s history.

Quinn Sheehan, Contributing Writer

It’s that time of year again. Excitement circles the nation as people with varying degrees of college basketball knowledge fill out their yearly brackets. A year ago, the COVID-19 outbreak first hitting the United States gave cause to cancel the tournament. However, everyone’s favorite 68 team tournament is returning this year! Four play-in games on Thursday will lead to the start of the main tournament on Friday and Saturday.

The last time the tournament played out, the Virginia Cavaliers took down the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the championship game to bring home their first championship in program history. Both teams will be returning to the field along with 66 other hungry teams looking to prove themselves. However, some historically dominant teams have been left on the outside looking in this year. Specifically, Duke and Kentucky, two perennial favorites to win both had disappointing seasons and missed the cut. In their replacement, the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Illinois Fighting Illini, the Michigan Wolverines, and the Baylor Bears claim the four 1 seeds. Apart from Gonzaga, these teams have not experienced this level of success in a long time. This theme also continues with the tournament’s 2 seeds as the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes, Iowa Hawkeyes, and Houston Cougars have only recently climbed to the top. Many historically great teams such as North Carolina, Virginia, Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse, and UCLA have been pushed down to lesser seeds as new programs rise to the top. Despite all of this, perpetual contender Gonzaga enters as this year’s favorite. They have been utterly dominant this season, cruising past all their opponents for a 26-0 record. The Bulldogs will be looking to complete the first perfect season since the Indiana Hoosiers went 32-0, winning the national championship in the 1975-1976 season.

However, as many know, the tournament doesn’t simply go the way of the higher seed winning every game. Almost every year there are bracket busting upsets where an unknown school takes down a juggernaut and cinderella teams that make it deep into the tournament. This makes the bracket virtually impossible to predict perfectly. Famous billionaire Warren Buffet has even guaranteed $1 million to anyone who gets a perfect bracket. However, the odds of getting every game right is about 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, so Buffet’s million may be safe for the time being. This does not stop millions of people across the nation and the world from creating their brackets, persuing money, or simply bragging rights against friends and family.

When asked who he thought would bring home the championship, Hingham High School senior Ben Cyr said, “I got Baylor because their schedule throughout the season showed that they are a gritty team. Also, they are in a pretty easy region so I think they could easily get far”. Baylor is a popular pick along with Gonzaga and Illinois, but as previously mentioned, there is almost always an unexpected team that makes a run. Teams such as San Diego State and Winthrop are among the popular cinderella teams. However, when he was asked on which sleeper team he thought could make a run, HHS junior Brian O’Dell said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Michigan State made a run just because Tom Izzo is a good coach who may have something up his sleeve”. Regardless of who wins the tournament, it is an overall exciting and fun time for college basketball and sports in general and it is good to have March Madness back.