More Than a Game
With spring break just around the corner, we know everyone’s thinking about that new bikini they ordered for Punta Cana and finally having time to catch up on “House of Cards.” But spring break also brings the start of March Madness. With Selection Sunday fewer than two weeks away, it’s time to make predictions, pick who will be this year’s Cinderella team and decide who’s the most trustworthy one in the friend group to organize the bracket pool.

We understand that a sports column about March Madness would normally entail predictions, but we will be the first to tell you that our guesses are as good as yours. Maybe worse. For years, Maddie filled out her bracket by looking up which teams had better uniform colors or the coolest mascot, and surprisingly this strategy never left her worse off than if she had done some “better” research. Abby and her dad filled it out together, but we rarely picked the teams that ended up in the final. There isn’t a foolproof way to fill out a bracket. In fact, the odds of picking a perfect March Madness bracket are one in more than nine quintillion. Good luck. A No. 1 seed in the tournament means something, as last year’s winner University of Louisville entered the tournament with a top seed. But it was the only No. 1 team to make it past the Elite Eight. Since 1979, there has only been one Final Four that was played entirely by teams with their region’s No. 1 ranking, proving that the ranking can be arbitrary in many cases. In the past 10 years alone, two teams ranked 11th have made it to the Final Four and every time an underdog goes far, people latch on to the team as the story of the tournament. That any given team can win any given day is why we love sports so much. March Madness is all about the underdogs. Sure, everyone likes to see a team that has won all season keep winning in the postseason, but it’s a lot more exciting to see a team that just squeaked into the tournament beat basketball powerhouses. While Harvard University is normally considered an adversary in the regular season, Ivy Leaguers put aside their usual rivalries during the tournament for the sake of Ancient Eight pride. Sports fans got their fill over the last two and a half weeks watching hours of Olympic coverage. Now they’ll have time to recharge and prepare for the barrage of first-round games played over just two days. Some of these games will be blowouts, but others could become some of the most exciting and unexpected performances of the tournament. With smartphone apps streaming every game and providing live statistics, fans can watch every minute of every game. So while we gave you no advice, and actually probably just made you realize how much of a crapshoot it really is to fill out a bracket, we still encourage you to join a pool. Everyone at Dartmouth is competitive and investing in the tournament’s outcome makes it a lot more meaningful. Bragging rights are on the line. Choose wisely!
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