2017-03-22 / Sports

THE PRESSBOX

A tournament full of intrigue and upsets
AUSTIN VANDAELE

A tournament full of intrigue and upsets While looking over my March Madness bracket after the tournament’s opening weekend, all I notice is a sea of red, incorrect picks that has plagued everyone’s bracket this year. Normally, I’d be upset with how after the opening weekend half of my Final Four teams have been bounced out, taking my chances at bragging rights among my friends with them. This year, though, there have been some great games that have led to much uncertainty as to who will be making it to Phoenix for the Final Four.

I’ll use the East bracket as an example, where both the top-seeded Villanova and the second-seeded Duke have already been knocked out of the tournament. I’ve seen many analysts and enthusiasts alike pick Duke to finish as national champions this season, and their early exit, while heartbreaking for some, is incredible for the tournament. The same could be said about Villanova. The returning champions will not be repeating, and taking their place is the eight-seed Wisconsin. As for Duke? They lost to the seventh-seeded South Carolina.

These two powerhouse teams already exiting the tournament leaves the door wide open for either Baylor or Florida to make it to Phoenix from the East, but there could also be yet another Cinderella story if either Wisconsin or South Carolina remain hot. Personally, I’m pulling for the underdogs, because who doesn’t love a good Cinderella team in March?

Speaking of teams remaining hot, the Michigan Wolverines knocked off twoseed Louisville on Sunday, making them one of the most intriguing teams to follow this tournament. For those that don’t know, the Wolverines’ team plane had crashed on the runway heading to the Big-10 Tournament a few weeks ago, leaving many of the players shaken up just one day before their opening game of the tournament. The Wolverines seem to have used that terrifying experience to come together and begin playing their best basketball of the season, and at the perfect time nonetheless.

Michigan would go on to win the Big-10 Tournament and hasn’t lost since. Now, after a close win over Oklahoma and a convincing win over Louisville, Michigan faces a tough task in Oregon. Though, with how hot they are as of late, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it to the Elite 8. The next game would most likely be against the powerhouse of Kansas that has been rolling over opponents in the opening rounds of this year’s tournament, and that will be a great game to watch if it happens.

With every bracket in the nation busted, all that’s left to do is sit back and watch the great games that are to come. My guess is that at least one of the higher seeded teams will make it all the way to the Final Four based on their recent play, and it will be exciting to see exactly which team that will be. Everyone loves to root for the underdog, and this year’s tournament has provided us all with plenty of choices.

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