By Ryan Pike
Managing Editor for Writing and Reporting
Students and faculty at Jamesville-DeWitt High School have come down with a case of something serious. Worry not, this isn’t the common cold or the infamous swine flu; It’s March Madness.
The NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament captures the attention of the nation each and every year. From Selection Sunday in mid-March until the Final Four in early April, fans become obsessed with the tournament. They fill out brackets, argue with their friends over which teams will take home the national championship and watch every game they can. It should come as no surprise that J-DHS is not exempt from the March Madness fever.
Many of the students and faculty members of J-DHS are picking against the hometown Syracuse Orange this year. History teacher Eric Ormond said he always has two brackets: a bracket of what he thinks will happen and a “true bracket” that has the ‘Cuse taking home the Championship. “Maybe that’s why I never win my pool,” Mr. Ormond jokingly lamented, referring to Syracuse’s ten year absence from the championship game. Read this article for more student opinions about the ‘Cuse’s season.
Most students’ picks for the Final Four are still alive. Many popular picks include the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Indiana Hoosiers, the Kansas Jayhawks and the Louisville Cardinals. However, several students have already lost as many as three of their Final Four picks. One of these poor souls is junior Kevin Alkins, who picked Gonzaga, Georgetown and Memphis to advance. All three teams lost before the Sweet Sixteen. Junior Rasheed Baker had picked Gonzaga to win the tournament as well. Athletic Director John Goodson correctly picked the Wichita State Shockers to defeat the Bulldogs in the third round of the tournament based on “the strength of [Gonzaga’s] conference.” The Bulldogs had been criticized all season long for their lack of success against “power conference” teams; teams from the Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and PAC-12 are considered “power conference” schools.
In retrospect, junior Maki Mandelis made a great pick by selecting the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the West region. The No. 2 seed Buckeyes are the highest seed remaining in their region, and they have to beat a No. 6 seed and either a No. 9 seed or a No. 13 seed to make it to the Final Four. Only the sixth seeded Arizona Wildcats are a “power conference” team. The East region is the only region that still has its top four seeds fighting. Every region except the East has at least one double-digit seed still alive, something that couldn’t be predicted at the start of the tourney.
Upsets are bound to happen in March Madness, and this year has had upsets in abundance. Three No. 12 seeds, the California Golden Bears, the Ole Miss Rebels and the Oregon Ducks, all got big upset wins in the first round, the Ducks and No. 13 seed LaSalle Explorers made the Sweet Sixteen and No. 14 Harvard won its first NCAA Tournament game ever by upsetting the New Mexico Lobos. “My bracket is officially busted,” said junior Gus Weinstein, who had the Lobos advancing to the Final Four. Teaching aide Tim Mascari had the Lobos in the Final Four as well. In all, there have been 14 upsets, 10 in the second round and four in the third. Sophomore Brian Cieplicki made one of the safer upset picks of this tournament, taking No. 14 seed Davidson over No. 3 seed Marquette. However this did not pan out, and Marquette advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, ruining Cieplicki’s bracket.
The No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have pulled off the biggest upsets this tournament. They became only the seventh No. 15 seed to win their first game in the tournament. Then two days later, they became the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet Sixteen. The Eagles have been characterized by their uptempo, high-flying game that allowed them to beat the Georgetown Hoyas by 10, a team many thought would be able contend for the National Championship. “They’re the new ‘Lob City,” said Weinstein. Who knows what more “Lob City” might accomplish this season. We’ll find out as the Madness continues tonight.