Taking the Madness out of March Madness


Photographer: A.J. Mast

By Maggie York and Charlotte Paine

Charlotte: It’s that time of year again, where basketball fans get in a frenzy, and terms like Final Four and Elite Eight come up in day-to-day conversations. As one of the few non-basketball fans left, I find myself lost amidst these conversations. With a lot of newfound time on my hands, I decided to finally get involved in the madness. With very little knowledge of basketball, I turned to my friend Maggie for some advice. 

Maggie: Growing up in the York household, I was practically raised by the sports announcers on TV.  In this sports-obsessed house, you could almost always find us glued to the TV yelling at the referees every Saturday night. So each year when March comes around, brackets are made and bets are placed on who we think will make it to the championship game. When Charlotte came to me for advice, I was more than ready to tell her my picks for this year’s March Madness. 

Charlotte: So how do you start out the process of picking your winning teams?

Maggie: I usually begin by looking at the stats of teams, considering everything from three-pointer percentages to offensive and defensive efficiency rates. If two teams are pretty close in these statistics, I usually choose the team with the higher seed. However, I try not to favor any teams based too much off of their seed, as conferences are very different. 

Charlotte: How do you proceed predicting upsets?

Maggie: As I said previously, I try to avoid looking at rankings too much, as different conferences tend to yield very different results. I look to see which team plays most consistently against their opponents throughout the season, and additionally, I favor the team that has a strong defense and offense. 

Charlotte: Despite this, do you ever find yourself consistently favoring a certain team?

Maggie’s bracket

Maggie: Although I try to be as unbiased as possible, I seem to choose Alabama pretty consistently when it comes to my bracket. Coming from an Alabama family, I just find it too hard to not put them at least in the Final Four, especially when they had such a strong season with their three-pointers. As expected, I was very upset when UCLA beat the elephants in the Sweet 16. Now Charlotte, as a newbie, what was the hardest thing about getting involved in March Madness this year?

Charlotte: Without having a basketball background, I found it hard to consider each teams’ previous season history, and I found myself overwhelmed. Is there an easier way to dive into the mix?

Maggie: Typically, there are historically safe bets, such as Duke, UNC, and Gonzaga, but this year it seemed as if all bets were off. With schools such as UCLA and Loyola making their mark this year beating traditionally good basketball schools, it can be pretty hard to predict these kinds of upsets. 

Needless to say, after a year of madness, March Madness was definitely something we could all look forward to on weekends. Coming from a seasoned basketball fan, I have loved recruiting all my friends into the world of three pointers, layups, field goals, free throws and many more terms I have come to know in these past seasons. Although I have never personally played basketball, I think it is a sport everyone can respect for its fast pace and dynamic score changes. So even though March Madness is over for this year, I invite everyone to continue keeping up with the world of basketball!