BY Dan Gardella
Asst. Sports Editor
Every year in the middle of March, college basketball takes center stage with the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament, which began this year on March 21. The tournament runs through April 8, with one team leaving with the name of “National Champions.”
For fans of college basketball, the tournament gives them a chance to create a bracket that they think will be perfect. The likelihood of a bracket being perfect though is one in 9.2 quintillion, according to Jonathan Mattingly, a math professor at Duke University.
Nearly 70 million brackets will be created, according to boydsbets.com, which is a sports betting website. Within those 70 million brackets, close to 10.4 billion dollars worth of bets will be placed throughout the duration of the tournament.
“It’s easy to pick Duke or North Carolina,” said graduate student Geno Gonnello. “Those two teams looked the best all season. But there are a lot of teams that have something to offer. It all depends on who is hot at the end of the season.”
While Gonnello says he makes multiple brackets, he only makes one serious one and creates others that are for fun. Regardless of the bracket, it takes him the entire five days between the unveiling of the bracket and beginning of the tournament to fill out his brackets.
For sophomore Eric Hund, he typically creates three or four brackets prior to the tournament beginning. This year, he only made one.
“I usually make more than one bracket because it gives me a better chance of winning,” said Hund. “Everyone likes winning, especially if you follow college basketball.”
The way in which people choose the teams they think will win can vary. Sophomore Shannon Szefinski, chooses based on team statistics.
“I pick the teams based on their rankings from the season,” said Szefinski. “This results in me picking the higher seed most of the time.”
While teams such as Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and Gonzaga, who represent the top four seeds in the tournament are the betting favorites to win the tournament, there are other teams who have pulled off upsets against higher seeded teams, such as No. 12 Oregon, defeating No. 5 Wisconsin, 72-54 in the first round of the tournament.
“It is fun to pick ‘Cinderella,’ teams because not many people expect them to win,” said Hund. “It’s fun when you get the pick right.”
The first and second rounds of the tournament took place in eight locations across the country. The winners of those games advanced to the regional semifinals in four new locations. The winners of each region will earn the opportunity to compete for the national championship at the “Final Four,” which is set in Minneapolis.
According to Forbes.com, roughly 100 million people will tune into the almost 70 games that take place over the three week period. Sometimes it can take a person’s attention away from other things.
According to sbj.net, employers will lose $13.3 billion in productivity from this year’s tournament. It is estimated that employees would spend about six hours of work time on activities related to the tournament.
“The tournament is awesome,” said Hund. “It is single elimination. Anyone can win which makes every team put it all on the table. I can sit on a couch for hours and watch the games.”
Throughout the tournament, games will be featured on four television channels: TBS, CBS, TruTV, and TNT.