Its that time of year again! The time of year when workers across the nation waste countless work hours on sports websites and spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing brackets. The time of year when college basketball fans suddenly start rooting for the upsets, but only if they don’t affect the accuracy of their own bracket. Studies have shown that the annual NCAA tournament has a negative $1.9 Billion impact on the economy due to lost or unproductive work hours! This type of mass impact and the fanaticism that accompanies it can only be described in one way: madness!
For me NCAA March Madness will always mean wild predictions, clutch performances, and the blind hope that my team will make an incredible run to the championship. But it will also remind me of the special moments connected to the tournament that will always be with me: running to the cafeteria in between classes during high school to catch a glimpse of the first games, going on a road trip to see the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds held in St. Louis in 2007, and skipping classes in college just to watch the games.
Bottom line, the tournament is special. Even in the era of one-and-done athletes there is still an innocence associated with the win-or-go-home mentality and the incredible performances put forth by young people, many of whom have no real future in professional basketball. It’s a special time of year when everyone, whether a true basketball fan or not, can come together and fill out a bracket. And in that moment when the pen hits the paper and the names are filled out, we all submit ourselves to the hope that we made the right choices and hitched our wagon to the right workhorse. But the irony that truly brings the tournament together is that nobody has any idea how each year’s tournament will play out. Whether you watch every single game or you think that Gonzaga is some sort of karate move, everyone has the same chance of filling out a successful bracket.
So here are my predictions for this year’s tournament… but as for how the tournament will really play out, well, it’s impossible to predict!
Final Four: Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UNC
Championship: Duke v. UNC
National Champion: Duke