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The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The Madness of March Madness Brackets

2024 NCAA men’s bracket courtesy of
2024 NCAA men’s bracket courtesy of

Whether someone follows collegiate basketball or not, many people have heard of March Madness. This is the time of year where collegiate basketball, as the title suggests, becomes absolute craziness. The top 68 teams in Division I (and the top 64 teams in Division II and Division III respectively) face off in a single-elimination tournament that eventually leads to the crowning of a national champion.

The tournament, which spans across the month of March and into April, provides men’s and women’s games almost every day for those months.

For many years, people, basketball fans or not, have been filling out brackets with which teams they believe will win. For some, it’s just a fun way to follow the tournament with family or friends but for others, there’s money or even more importantly, pride, on the line. Those people watch the playoff games anxiously, hoping the team they picked for that round pulls the win out.

Due to the self-imposed high stakes many people place on winning their brackets, the tournament lives up to its name every year without fail.

Cayden Lowenbach, junior exercise science major and member of the Linfield men’s basketball team, follows collegiate basketball closely and has been filling out March Madness brackets for the last 14 years.

Most years, he puts his bracket up against his family’s and they compete to have the best bracket. This year was no different. And despite Lowenbach’s knowledge of the game, his bracket proved that sometimes the statistics lie and no matter how closely you follow the season, your bracket could still fail.

“My men’s bracket was awful this year,” said Lowenbach. “My champion [Auburn] lost in the first round and most of my other Final Four teams lost early on in the tournament. I ended up almost placing dead last in my family.”

Unfortunately, the fate of Lowenbach’s bracket is felt across the nation by many people every single year. There’s always at least one insane upset that almost nobody could have predicted. It’s so difficult to correctly predict an entire bracket. Well actually, it may be impossible as it has never been done.

The real frustration that avid college basketball followers feel is when their bracket does worse than someone’s bracket who doesn’t really follow it as much throughout the year.

Despite being on the women’s basketball team at Linfield, sophomore accounting and finance double major Laurel Quinn doesn’t follow collegiate basketball much until March Madness hits. This was her fourth year filling out brackets for both men’s and women’s basketball and she was pretty successful, picking the overall winners correctly for both brackets.

“For men, I picked UConn to win and for women, I picked South Carolina,” said Quinn. “I was really excited about the outcome of my women’s bracket because it did really well but I didn’t really care about my men’s bracket.”

This nonchalance about bracket-making is not felt by many, and is definitely not felt by Lowenbach who was not very happy with his bracket.

“I was relatively frustrated by the outcome of my bracket,” said Lowenbach. “It was obviously a terrible bracket and I didn’t do well despite watching a lot of college basketball all year. This isn’t exactly new for me, though. Every year, I watch a lot of college basketball and then fill out a bracket that just doesn’t do well.”

Although making March Madness brackets can be frustrating as slowly your teams drop out one-by-one, the overall experience can be incredibly fun.

It’s also great for college basketball as it encourages people to not only tune in during March but also throughout the year in hopes that maybe their bracket could turn out more successful if they know more about the teams. Although Lowenbach’s bracket is one of many that shows that this may not help as much as one might think, it’s worth a shot.

“Despite not filling out a good bracket, I still enjoyed making it and watching all of the games,” said Lowenbach. “March Madness is always one of my favorite times of the year and I’m always going to fill out the brackets. Hopefully someday I will fill out a good one.”

The question that remains surrounding March Madness brackets is when, or if, someone will create the perfect bracket. Anyone could be the one to do it. It could happen next year or in 10 years, we will just have to wait and see.

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