Urban School joins in annual March Madness craze

Tikloh Bruno-Basaing, Staff Writer

From March 13 to April 2, 68 men’s college basketball teams faced off to take home the title of the NCAA Division One March Madness tournament. The tournament is an annual event with games hosted in colleges across the country. Each team represents their school in single elimination games, playing as five million to 23 million viewers watch each game, according to Statista. Just as they do for many sporting events, people across the country gather around their screens every year to watch as the tournament unfolds.

        Every March, the tradition of predicting brackets for the tournament spreads across the country, including Urban. A list of teams are matched up in the first round, and, as teams are eliminated, the bracket narrows down with new matchups almost every day. The Urban Legend looked into how both emotional and financial investment in the college basketball tournament take over high school communities.

“When the rounds of 64 come on, it’s like Christmas came early,” said avid sports fan and senior Julian Dahan (’18) about the first round of the tournament.

To make the tournament more interesting, celebrities establish prizes for fans who create brackets with perfect outcomes. A perfect bracket has the correct winners from every possible match-up in the tournament. Chicago Bulls guard Zach Lavine has promised his followers his customized BMW i8 upon presentation of a perfect bracket.

“These keys right here, all yours. Perfect bracket, I want to see it,” Lavine said in an Instagram video for his fans.

Billionaire business mogul Warren Buffet has offered a $1 million per-year reward for any employee of his with a perfect tournament bracket. Buffet has been offering millions of dollars in rewards for the past few years to those with perfect brackets, but is yet to find a winner.

People come together during March Madness through bracket pools – gambling to see who in a pool of colleges has the most accurate bracket..

“It’s just more fun when you put money towards it,” Dahan said.

“I entered two pools, just because it makes the whole thing more interesting,” Henry Steere (’19) said. “I made a pool with my middle school friends and we made one with the Urban baseball team with about 16 people. I put down a total of no more than 100 dollars.” Steere went on to explain how he lost the $100 due to the upsets and probabilities of the system. With real investment, the stakes become higher along with the necessity to win.

“[Betting] gives you more of an incentive to do your research and look at which teams you think have a chance of winning games,” Dahan said.

Despite the opportunity to profit financially and emotionally, statistically speaking, the probability of creating a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are as low as one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, according to the NCAA.

What separates the college NCAA tournament from other basketball games is the element of luck in such spontaneous, single-game matches.

“In the NBA, teams will play a series of games, which usually results in the better team prevailing,” Steere said.

In March Madness, individual games are as unpredictable as the bracket, supposedly increasing fans’ interests.

“What’s so cool is that there are much more upsets. Because players are younger, the talent gap isn’t as large, [and] you can see some of the best teams in the country losing lots of games,” Matthew Sherman (’19) said.

        Although the chances of creating a perfect bracket are miniscule, these odds have never stopped sports fans across the country from gathering to predict the outcome of March Madness.