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OPINION: The Madness begins

FDU verses Purdue in basketball for March Madness Championship.

With the buzz of March Madness ramping up, the excitement for fans like me trying to fill out their “perfect bracket” has also begun.

For my Final Four matchups I have the University of Connecticut facing off against the University of North Carolina and the University of Tennessee facing off against the University of Marquette.

For the first time since 2006-07, I have UConn defeating Tennessee to win back-to-back National Championships. UConn defeated San Diego State last year 76–59, winning their first National Championship since 2014. UConn has won this tournament five times and heads into this tournament as favorites to win it all.

The NCAA men’s tournament has seen some major upsets and thrilling games in the opening rounds, with several unexpected outcomes shaking up brackets.This year was no exception as March Madness fans were treated with multiple upsets and Cinderella stories on opening day.

Upsets galore: No. 11 seeds have been particularly successful, with Duquesne, Oregon and NC State all pulling off spectacular wins against higher-seeded opponents. These upsets have become a trend in recent tournaments, with No. 11 seeds making deep runs in previous years.

Duquesne’s victory: Duquesne’s upset win over No. 6 BYU was a highlight of the tournament’s early action. Despite being the underdog, Duquesne secured a 71–67 victory, knocking out a significant portion of bracket predictions. With it only being the second game of the tournament, Duquesne’s win over the Cougars left only 16% of the Nation’s brackets perfect.

Oregon’s strong performance: Oregon Ducks, another No. 11 seed, exceeded expectations with an impressive 87–73 win over No. 6-seeded South Carolina. Jermaine Couisnard led the charge with a career-high 40 points, adding to the day’s upsets.

NC State’s dominance: NC State continued the trend of No. 11 seeds performing well in the tournament by defeating No. 6 Texas Tech 80–67. Their victory marked their first trip to the second round since 2015.

Are 11-6 matchups the new 12-5: March 21’s matchups marks the fourth-straight NCAA March Madness tournament in which at least one No. 11 seed has advanced past the first round. Three of those tournaments have seen multiple No. 11 seeds win, and several advancing deeper into the tournament.

Jack Gohlke’s heroics: Jack Gohlke emerged as a star for the University of Oakland, leading his team to a historic upset over No. 3 Kentucky. Gohlke’s remarkable performance, including 10 3-pointers on 20 3-point attempts, fueled Oakland’s 80–76 victory and busted countless brackets in the process. As a result of the upset, almost every perfect bracket was busted. More than 95% of the brackets had Kentucky to move onto the second round. By the time the game was over, less than 0.1% of brackets made through Yahoo Sports were still perfect.

Few perfect brackets remain: With numerous upsets and unexpected outcomes, most brackets have been busted. Only a handful of perfect brackets remain, highlighting the unpredictable nature of March Madness.

Overall, the tournament has already delivered thrilling moments and unexpected results, setting the stage for further excitement in the upcoming rounds.
Go Huskies!

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Collyn Cowles, Sports editor

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