Wednesday– Tomorrow is the start of one of our nation’s finest traditions. That’s right, the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, AKA March Madness. Over the past week, fans across the globe have filled out their brackets with glee, anticipating the wild underdog stories, first round upsets, and buzzer beater finishes we’ve come to expect in March. Oh, and we’re totally ignoring the fact that College Basketball is enveloped in a major scandal after an FBI probe unveiled many of the nation’s top programs strategies to recruit athletes with money and other unauthorized gifts. March is basketball time, and if that means ignoring the harsh reality of major college athletics for one more month, so be it!
For some seniors at Trinity, this tournament feels different from those in years past. That’s because, for the first time in their lives, they have built personal relationships with many universities that crowd the field of teams. So here are my ten picks based on personal connections that will probably be severed come the end of the month when college decisions are released.
- Duke University– The perennial favorites, everyone either loves or hates Duke with a passion. With stars such as Marvin Bagley III, Grayson Allen, and coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke has had a successful season and enters the tournament with a #2 seed. When I told Mr. Reilly I wanted to apply to Duke, he told me to add some more safeties to my list… just in case. Supposedly Duke admissions decisions come out sometime soon so my support for this team could be cut short. But I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
- The University of Virginia – The University of Virginia, commonly referred to as ‘UVA’ or ‘The Big Grape’ to all you Spanish speakers out there, has had its best season in recent memory. With the emergence of Kyle Guy and Devon Hall as true stars on the court, the Cavaliers have earned the #1 overall seed in the tournament following their recent ACC championship. I applied Early Action to UVA. I did not get in. But I feel like we’ve grown since then, and who knows? Just like college basketball, college admissions are also called March Madness because anything can happen in regular! (I hope.)
- Arizona State – The Arizona State Sun Devils have had a decent season, if nothing exceptional, and are fighting to remain in the tournament tonight after being matched up against Syracuse in a first four battle. I decided to apply to ASU because somebody told me they have a lazy river that flows through campus. I’m still not sold on the validity of this claim, but it would be pretty cool if it were true.
- The University of Pennsylvania – The UPenn Quakers qualified for the big dance with a thrilling win over Harvard in the Ivy League Championship. The school is excited for its first tournament appearance in eleven years, ending a drought uncharacteristic of Penn Basketball. If there’s one thing that catches the eye of any Trinity student, it’s an Ivy-League school. Similar to my story about Duke, when I told Mr. Reilly I was applying, he let out the evil cackle of a man who had seen too many students go down the same road. Luckily for me, Penn is the #16 seed and playing #1 Kansas in the first round, so they’ll be rejected from the tournament before they reject me. Hooray?
- The University of Alabama – Alabama always seems to be in the mix come March, but never seems to make it far. Maybe that can change this year with star freshman, Collin Sexton, leading the charge. Alabama popped up on my college radar when famed football coach Nick Saban called me up and said, “
Willanonymous writer for The Garlic, we need a new QB next year and think you’re the man for the job!” I replied, “Coach, I’m a little rusty. I haven’t played since middle school frees on the Turf.” He was quick to respond, “I know, but we saw something special in you. You have what just can’t be taught.” “Thanks, Coach! I have a bunch of offers on the table but I’ll get back to you” “No, thank you, Willanonymous writer for The Garlic! Roll Tide!” So who knows, if my math grade stays where it is right now, I think college football at Alabama is my best option.
- Harvard University – They’re actually not in the tournament this year, but c’mon, it’s Harvard.
- Wichita State – Ten years ago, Wichita State was a loveable underdog in the world of college basketball. Recently, however, they’ve come into March expected to make a deep tournament run. Missing many players that established the program as a national competitor, it’ll be interesting to see how the Shockers fares with its new core. Personally, I chose to apply to Wichita State because I wanted to study in the epicenter of culture and technological innovation, Wichita, Kansas.
- The University of Miami – The U has seen its basketball program slowly rise back to prominence after a surprisingly long lull. With impressive upperclassmen depth off the bench and a rejuvenated core, I’m confident Miami will make it to the Elite Eight. When LeBron announced he was going to South Beach, my heart joined him for the ride and never returned. To go to The U is to have unbridled swagger, so clearly it’s the right school for me.
- University of Buffalo – I know nothing about the University of Buffalo’s basketball team. That’s probably not a great sign, but who knows– if ever there was a time for upsets, it’s now. New York offers its students incredible opportunities at public universities. Governor Cuomo has even begun to move towards providing a free state college education for New Yorkers. Attending college is a financial burden, and UB could certainly alleviate some of that.
- Davidson College – The Wildcats have produced some memorable tournament highlights and some impressive talent, including Steph Curry’s incredible performance ten years ago. It’s hard to imagine this year’s twelfth-seeded team can match 2008’s success, especially with a tough first-round matchup against Kentucky, but Davidson isn’t giving up anytime soon. The twelve-five pairing has been notorious for the amount of first-round upsets it seems to yield every year. Just north of Charlotte, North Carolina, Davidson is a smaller school that promises a personalized education. The school’s commitment to preparing its students for the many challenges, professional and otherwise, sets it apart as a place where I believe I could truly excel. (To be completely honest, I wrote almost that exact sentence on all of my applications.)
Well, that’s it, my complete analysis of March Madness basketball. You’re probably wondering,
Will anonymous writer, who’s your pick to win it all. I’m going to say, Duke-Michigan final, with Duke winning 71-65. You heard it here first. The odds of any of that being true are slim to none, but how cool would it be if it is? Maybe we’d even get on the local news, or at least make the rounds on the internet. (To all you visitors out there in the future after the tournament has ended, how crazy is it that I got the final score exactly correct? And then I predicted you’d be here, and now you are! Meta.) Anyways, this has been fun, perhaps I’ll even write some updates as the tournament progresses. Until then…
Will Anonymous Author