Isabel Pheifer—Staff Writer
After a year without the excitement of March Madness, the whole country is eager for March 18 to roll around. The “First Four” games will kick off the tournament this Thursday followed by the round of 64 on March 19 and 20.
This year’s Men’s NCAA basketball tournament will look a little different than previous years. Due to
Covid, the teams will not travel around the country to play at multiple different stadiums. Instead, all 68 squads will gather in Indiana, where all of the games will be hosted and played at a few select different locations. While fans are allowed to attend, each host site are limiting attendance to 25 percent capacity, with one exception other than the one: Assembly Hall. Here, at the home court of the Indiana Hoosiers, attendance is capped at 500. Each player and coach will receive six tickets for friends and family.
Another change unrelated to
Covid is the absence of two of the most accomplished and popular programs in the tournament: Duke and Kentucky. These teams both amounted very disappointing seasons and were unable to earn themselves a bid to the big dance. This comes as a shock and a disappointment to many, in as this is the first time that the two teams have missed the tournament in the same year since 1976.
Despite the loss of these blue blood schools, there are many other successful teams
ready to try to earn themselves avying championship. The four numberone seeds include Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois, and Michigan. The Zags rank as the number one seed overall—the only undefeated team at 26-0 , and the favorite to win it all. The University of Virginia Cavaliers enter in as the defending champion after winning in 2019 , and the 2020 tournament was cancelled.
There are several interesting matchups and potential upsets in the first round. One to look for is No. 10 Rutgers vs. No. 7 Clemson. Rutgers has a pretty good chance of upsetting Clemson, as they play in the dominant Big-Ten Conference and had a
really tough regular season schedule because of it. They will be up for the fight against Clemson, as Clemson has not shot particularly well this season and may not be able to fend off the feisty Rutgers team.
Another good matchup comes from the South Region where No. 14 Colgate squares off against No. 3 Arkansas. This one should be
really competitive. Both teams like to play at a fast tempo and shoot a lot of threes. If Colgate takes care of the ball and gets their buckets to fall, there could be a big upset.
No. 10 VCU also stands a chance to upset No. 7 Oregon. Expect VCU to
try to generate a lot of generate turnovers from Oregon , and turn them into buckets on the other end. The first round will be nothing short of interesting!
Although Dordt is not affiliated with the NCAA, there is no lack of passion for March Madness on campus.
“I would consider myself a pretty big fan when it comes to March Madness
. It’s the best thing about the month of March ! Having played basketball for a number of years in my life, it’s definitely going to make listening to lectures very hard, and it’ll be tempting to flip on games during class.” said sophomore Grant Brouwer . Grant typically root s for Duke , as he says,
“Unfortunately, not everybody is a Duke fan, so I often get grief or that. However, I can say they’ve won five championships, which is five more than any Iowa team.”
There are many bracket challenges happening around campus, but one
really interesting one is taking place amongst the track and field team. Theirs is titled the “Chocolate Milk Mile” as those in the bottom percentage of the challenge have to run a chocolate milk mile— . What this means is after every lap of the mile, the losers must drink a glass of chocolate milk. Also, the person who wins the challenge gets to choose one person to run the mile as well. Considering this, I would assume most people participating are trying very hard on their brackets to prevent what sounds like a very excruciating one-mile run!
Although this tournament may look a little different, one thing is bound to be the same: the competition. The dream of hoisting that championship trophy in the air is surely enough to keep
all of the players and coaches going. March Madness is never boring, and you can count on seeing upsets, close games, buzzer beaters, and so much more. Will another Cinderella story erupt like Loyola-Chicago in 2018? Will a number one seed find defeat in the first round? That is why we watch, and why it is called March Madness after all!
The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament will conclude on April 5, with the championship game being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.