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March Madness recap: a thrilling month for basketball fans


Every year, the NCAA hosts the March Madness basketball tournament, and this year’s stories have been told all around campus. The tournament started years ago, in 1939, under a different title. Now, nearly 100 years later, the name is synonymous with great basketball and an exhilarating month. Westminster, as well as the rest of the country, loves the concept of March Madness and participates in all different types of events and festivities.

The tournament begins with Selection Sunday, occurring in mid-March. This is the date the NCAA selection team decides the separate teams that will be involved in the tournament. Everyone anticipates this day, hoping their favorite team has performed well enough to enter the most prestigious tournament of the year. After this Sunday, brackets begin, with millions being filled out every year. These brackets are predictions of how the tournament will play out, and anyone can choose any team that they predict will be the winner. Eventually, the bracket will narrow down to its first upper echelon of teams, dubbed the Sweet Sixteen. Going from 68 to 16 teams, the tournament gets even more interesting, as each game is played between two talented schools. Following the Sweet Sixteen is the Elite Eight, which is finally followed by the Final Four. The two Final Four games, while not the championship, still attracted substantial viewership . Nearly 75,000 fans showed up for the two games, which are both eventful and interesting. This all leads up to the championship game, which was won this year by the University of Connecticut men’s team and the University of South Carolina women’s team.

Two main stories were closely followed throughout the 2024 March Madness tournament. The first was the imminent presence of superstar Caitlin Clark. Clark has always been considered a fantastic basketball player, playing at the University of Iowa and being their star player nearly all four of her years at the school. Her senior year alone, Clark scored 1,234 points, including 22 games scoring over 30 points. She dominated this field, and led her Iowa team to a runner-up position against South Carolina. 

“It’s inspiring how [Clark] has been able to lead the league in so many ways, and she has really revolutionized the game,” said sophomore Leighton Harris.

The other headline of the season was that of the underdogs of North Carolina State. Led by center DJ Burns and guard DJ Horne, the two secret stars with the same name started off as the 11th-seeded team out of 16. Making it all the way to the Final Four was an incredible feat for the team, one that close to no one expected. 

“While I wouldn’t have rooted for the team originally, it is so unique to have an underdog story like this,” said junior Carson Streaker.

Additionally, the intrigue of filling out a bracket and seeing how far one’s picks can get is a draw-in for many. Numerous individuals, even those whose favorite teams aren’t part of the tournament or who don’t typically follow college basketball closely, still enjoy March Madness due to the quest of attaining a perfect bracket. 

At Westminster, sophomores Neal and Shaan Jindal created a grade-wide March Madness bracket league for all to partake in.

“It’s super interesting to see who will win. Only one person comes out on top, and it is fun to have year-long bragging rights,” mentioned Neal, who began this activity his freshman year at the school. 

Each person individually fills out their own respective brackets, and brackets fight each other based on a percentage of accuracy. This year’s winner lost two games in the very first rounds but still found a way to win with a near perfect ending structure. The lack of reliability and the constant change in these brackets make them extremely entertaining and difficult to perfect. Even the teachers of the school participate, with a March Madness bracket competition run by math teacher Neema Salimi. Everyone can get involved, and it’s interesting how statistics and math play such an important and significant role in determining the end results of these brackets.

All in all, for years past and many to come, the March Madness tournament has been an extremely exciting watch for the students and faculty of Westminster, captivating the school in awe and excitement. March Madness is the most intriguing and anticipated basketball tournament, and it is no different at Westminster. 

Edited by Presley Tsang

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