Overtime: An Ode to March Madness


This years Final Four was unpredictable and busted my bracket. (Photo Courtesy of Twitter)

As March draws to a close, it would be remiss of me not to discuss my March Madness bracket and just how poorly I did this year. Yes, I will admit, this year has been full of surprises and fun games to watch, but this truly was not my best year to bet money on a bracket.

But while my bracket may have busted, this year’s tournament is surely historic. None of the teams seeded one, two or three will be there; the first time since seeding was introduced 44 years ago.

Instead, this year’s final four comprises of Florida Atlantic University, Miami University, San Diego State University and the University of Connecticut.

In a Cinderella story year, these teams have shocked number one seeds across the nation as they clawed their way to the final four. However, for those who gambled on their brackets this year, this may have been one of the toughest years to predict what would occur.

Making March Madness brackets dates back to 1977 in Staten Island at a local bar and it’s not an easy feat to get a perfect bracket. The NCAA says a person has an approximately 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of being perfect, but not a single person has ever been perfect since the bracket was released.

In the first round, there was certainly no shortage of excitement with the No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson University defeating No. 1 Purdue University, with a score of 63-58. This was just the beginning of the end for my bracket. For the past 10 years, the one and two seeds have dominated the final four, making it so incredibly likely I would be granted at least one of them in my final four. Boy was I wrong.

But don’t get me wrong, I love the Cinderella stories that come out of March Madness. Giving a smaller school the opportunity to shine among the big blue blood programs is what makes the sport so unique and special. However, I do have one major gripe.

The issue that comes with the Cinderella stories is the coaching change that usually follows. It is one of the most heartbreaking things when your team has a huge year, upsetting a huge Division 1 school, only to have your coach offered a more “prestigious” coaching job somewhere else because of their efforts. The team is set right back at square one; it’s highly unlikely that they repeat their efforts again the next year.

For example, Fairleigh Dickinson made history being only the second 16 seeded school to defeat a number 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history. As a result, head coach of the team, Tobin Anderson, received an offer to coach Iona College’s team and took the offer. It’s a tough sight to watch, but you have to be happy for the coach.

Similar things occurred to St. Peter’s University back in 2022 when Shaheen Holloway led his team to a major upset against teams such as Purdue and the University of Kentucky. A historic season came to an end against the University of North Carolina, but Holloway decided to leave St. Peter’s for his alma mater Seton Hall University’s new head coach job.

In addition, every single member of the starting lineup transferred schools. Good for the players in getting to where they want to go, but now, we’ll probably never see a St. Peter’s run in the tournament like this ever again.

But the one thing they do positively get is attention, when St. Peters made it all the way to the Elite Eight, as the first No. 15 seed to ever do so, they received tons of press coverage, driving up the amount of applicants to the school and bolstering the fan presence on campus more than ever before.

With 11 upsets this year, the year was certainly unpredictable, but as always enjoyable. I think the beauty of March Madness lies in the fact that anyone can win. Rather than a rigged system where the best of the best advance, you have to leave it all on the court for one game to truly win.

That’s what these underdogs are doing. Constantly challenging those who dominate the game all year long to show just exactly what kind of grit and heart they have.

So while my March Madness wasn’t the best in terms of the money I’m losing, it provided fans with something much more enjoyable: good basketball.