Sports

Students prepare brackets in March Madness anticipation

March is here, which means it’s time for basketball fans to prepare their brackets for March Madness, one of the biggest events in sports. The 68-team single-elimination tournament, which spans 19 days, kicks off March 17 with Selection Sunday. It will end with the Final Four and championship game on April 8. 

Fans of college basketball, especially those at John Brown University, won’t peel their eyes away from their television or phone screens much for the duration of the 19-day tournament. 

Nikolay Yakovlev, a junior engineering major at JBU, said he is excited that March Madness begins during Spring Break. “It’s a college kid’s dream,” he said. “The Sunday of spring break is selection Sunday, with the first rounds and final four starting the same week. No classes [means] basketball all day.”

With Selection Sunday right around the corner, seed predictions have started becoming more concrete. Latest predictions show that No. 1 seeds are Gonzaga, Virginia, Duke and Tennessee. 

Duke has consistently been a top seed prediction throughout this season, despite two recent losses. The absence of freshman Zion Williamson, who had to sit out due to a knee injury, is thought to be one cause of these losses. If Williamson returns to play before March Madness begins, Duke is expected to be the favorite. 

Fans of March Madness have probably been paying close attention to the SEC this season. The SEC has had a competitive year, with Tennessee, LSU, Kentucky, and Auburn all currently being top seed predictions. 

In a new development, Kansas will not earn a share of the Big 12 regular-season title after losing to Oklahoma last Tuesday. This will be the first time in 15 years that Kansas does not at least tie for first place in its conference’s regular season championship. However, fans are still hopeful that they will do well in the NCAA tournament.

Experts and fans aren’t just keeping their eyes on top seed teams, of course. One potential “Cinderella,” or underdog team, to look out for is Wofford, who is on a 17-game winning streak. Another Cinderella is Buffalo, who has won 30 games this season. 

As March Madness draws closer, fans at JBU have started on their brackets and are building hype for the three-week tournament. 

Nathan Kirkpatrick, a freshman business major, said that he looks forward to March Madness more than the Super Bowl.

“It’s the best time of the year,” he said. “There’s nothing more competitive than March Madness.”

Jack Stockton, a junior business major, said he enjoys the social component of participating in March Madness. 

“I like keeping up with the games and creating brackets with friends,” he said. 

Stockton and other JBU students use apps that allow them to create groups in which they can track each other’s brackets as the tournament progresses. 

JBU’s March Madness fans have a week of intense basketball games to look forward to. In the meantime, they’ll be preparing their brackets and keeping up with the last week of regular season games and any developing seed predictions. 

March Madness games are shown on four channels: CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. Full coverage will also be available on the NCAA’s March Madness Live site or March Madness Live app when signed in with a network TV provider.