March Madness is Upon Us
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Fans all over the United States are participating in ESPN’s Bracket Challenge, hoping to record a perfect bracket, a feat that, statistically, is nearly impossible.
Here at BHS, many students and teachers participate in bracket competitions to predict the teams advancing through the NCAA basketball tournament.
“I think Kentucky is going to win,” junior Chad Baker said.
The winner of ESPN’s challenge could win a trip for two to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Hawaii and $10,000 in Amazon.com gift cards.
Someone will win, but a perfect bracket is nearly impossible to achieve. There are reportedly over 9.2 quintillion different bracket combinations, according to DePaul University math professor Jeff Bergen. A number that large may be hard to conceptualize. That number combination can be slightly reduced to the chances being 128 billion to 1 when you assume the 1 seed beats the 16 seed, Bergen explains.
But they say upsets happen in March. Last year the biggest upset was when 15-seed Middle Tennessee beat 2nd-seeded Michigan State. This upset instantly wiped out 97.9% of all brackets according to ESPN’s tournament challenge. Also last year, number 10 seed Syracuse made it to the final 4, and only 0.1% of brackets had that happening.
So far this year, the biggest upset was in the second round, on March 19, when seventh-seeded South Carolina beat second-seeded Duke 88-81.
Last year, freshman Tal Yankevich decided to make a bracket for the first time, without knowing anything about college basketball. Tal picked the Final 4 almost right, but missed out on Syracuse. Ultimately, he picked then champion Villanova to win it all. Tal finished with 98.1%, very high in the rankings. He had no clue what he was doing.
“I basically just guessed, I don’t even watch college basketball,” Yankovic said. Thousands of people are like Tal and do not watch college basketball until the madness starts.
Among Beachwood students and faculty, the brackets and madness is under way. Students and teachers are sweating over their brackets, some hoping to win the ESPN grand prize, or just to win their league.
The closest team to Beachwood participating in the tournament is Kent State. Kent State upset Akron in the MAC Championship, so they got an automatic ticket to the big dance. Yet, the 14-seeded Golden Flashes lost to 3-seeded UCLA in the first round, 97-80.
The journalism class has their own bracket challenge, the stakes are very high as the winner will receive bragging rights.