For much of the Hockaday community, the month of March pushes students to their limits as classes begin winding down in preparation for the most dreaded time of year: exam season. However, exams are not the only frenzy-causing event that March brings to the table. Every year, Hockaday students, parents and teachers alike participate in the obsessive sports phenomenon known to be March Madness, or, more formally, the NCAA’s annual basketball tournament, by creating brackets and watching the original 64 teams waver down to one collegiate champion.
Although, according to ESPN, there is a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of creating a perfect bracket, a feat that has never been conquered before, millions of people with all types of sports backgrounds create brackets and follow the tournament as they enjoy the thrill of outrageous upsets and nail-biters.
Junior Elly O’Brien admits that she is not a dedicated college basketball fan. However, after winning in her family’s March Madness bracket challenges two years in a row, she continues to look forward to the tournament each year.
“Making brackets is one of my most cherished family traditions because it allows us to spend time together watching the games and unites us even when we are living in all different parts of the country,” O’Brien said. “Plus, a little competition is always fun.”
Freshman Riley Carter saw the bracket-making aspect of March Madness as a fun way to incite healthy competition with her friends and bring them together through their pursuit to win their bracket challenge.
“It was fun for me because my friends [who live in Houston] and I challenged each other as a fun way to stay close,” Carter said. “Whoever lost promised to drive down to the other city to visit one another.”
With such little prior knowledge of college basketball before March Madness, O’Brien and Carter are put at an advantage over those who follow teams all season and formulate their brackets based on statistics, past experiences, and rankings. The outcomes of the tournament are virtually unpredictable, and upset games such as Duke’s unexpected loss to Michigan State or UNC’s loss to Auburn couldn’t be predicted by even the most astute of basketball fans.
The most exciting game of the entire tournament was, unsurprisingly, the championship game between #3 ranked Texas Tech and #1 ranked University of Virginia. After their 2018 first-round loss to the #16 seed, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Virginia sought redemption a year later.
The game was hard to watch for dedicated Texas Tech and UVA fans, as it was so back-and-forth for the entirety of the game, but for the unbiased viewer, it was the best basketball that the NCAA could offer. The game surged into overtime after the clock ran out with a tied game on the scoreboard. During the five-minute overtime, UVA was able to secure a victory and pull out of the game–and the tournament–with a trophy and an 85-77 win under their belts.
Story by Shea Duffy