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Going mad for March Madness
Posted March 28, 2008

Galo Pesantes
Editor in Chief

Ah the joy of March Madness. It’s the only time of year when you are your own expert, a la Dick Vitale. So even if you don’t yell out, “It’s Awesome Baby!” at the top of your lungs, you are still caught up in trying to make the best picks among the 65 men’s college basketball teams competing in the tournament.

A certain type of intelligence is also needed here to complete your brackets and what usually emerges is the term “Bracketology.”

This informal slang term for knowledge on brackets incorporates certain theories that experts put in to play when making their picks such as seeding, regional advantage, offensive and defensive tendencies, star power, coaching and maybe most importantly, momentum. Yet, I have found that none of this usually matters because the unexpected always has a chance of happening.

During this time in March, a lot of us are on the edge of our seats witnessing Cinderella teams continue to dance while powerhouses fall at the same time. Many people even miss work just to watch games at
home, on their computer or at their local bar.

Last year, an estimated $1.2 billion was lost in productivity according to a survey by Challenger, Grey & Christmas, an employment consulting firm.

It is safe to say that many are watching on their computers while trying to do work. Still, it’s a phenomenon that spreads every time the Big Dance comes around because anything can happen, hence the name March Madness.

Among the big bracket busters this year was No. 4 Connecticut losing to the underdog San Diego. The Toreros’ De’Jon Jackson hit the biggest shot of his career with 1.2 seconds left to help lift No. 13 seed San Diego over the Huskies, 70-69.

On my bracket, I couldn’t have predicted an upset like this but I redeemed myself a bit when I got another upset right in the same region.
No. 12 Western Kentucky ended the season for the No. 5 Drake in overtime, 101-99. Taking a page from the Toreros, the Hilltoppers’ Ty Rogers hit a desperation buzzer beater to win the game over the Bulldogs.
Other upsets I was able to predict correctly was No. 11 Kansas State over No. 7 USC (It was hard to pick against the Trojans as an SC fan, but Michael Beasley and Billy Walker are too hard to go against), and No. 12 Villanova over No. 5 Clemson. No. 13 Siena was also able to come out of nowhere and knock off No. 4 Vanderbilt with its win.

Now with the field narrowed down to the Sweet 16, there are still a few surprises. Perennial powerhouse Duke squeaked by the first round with one point over Belmont but fell to West Virginia in the next round. As a Blue Devils fan, this hurt me and my bracket because I had Duke in my Elite eight. The two underdog teams left are also trying to play spoiler and make a run to San Antonio. Davidson entered the tournament quietly on a 22 game winning streak while also boasting the tournament’s top scorer, Stephen Curry. They will try to continue their momentum against Wisconsin in their Midwest regional. The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky will also have the arduous task of trying to take down No. 1 UCLA in their Sweet 16 match-up.

Still, I believe my bracket is in good shape heading into the next round. With the exception of Duke, all other seven teams I picked for my Elite Eight are still in contention in addition to my Final Four teams, UCLA, Memphis, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

In my final, I have Memphis outlasting Tennessee to win the national championship on April 7. However, I won’t be surprised if there is a Cinderella like Davidson that makes it to the Final Four. This is where you tell yourself “Bracketology” is not fool proof because anything can happen and you like many others are forced to throw your bracket out the window. Still it’s the madness that keeps you entertained all month long.

Galo Pesantes, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at gpesantes@ulv.edu.