Northwest Horizons

March is Mad: National Basketball Tournament is Underway

Junior+Nick+Gray+wears+a+Duke+sweatshirts+to+represent+them+in+the+tournament.+The+Blue+Devils+earned+the+%232+seed+in+the+Midwest+region+and+will+face+Iona+in+the+round+of+64.
Junior Nick Gray wears a Duke sweatshirts to represent them in the tournament. The Blue Devils earned the #2 seed in the Midwest region and will face Iona in the round of 64.

Junior Nick Gray wears a Duke sweatshirts to represent them in the tournament. The Blue Devils earned the #2 seed in the Midwest region and will face Iona in the round of 64.

Junior Nick Gray wears a Duke sweatshirts to represent them in the tournament. The Blue Devils earned the #2 seed in the Midwest region and will face Iona in the round of 64.

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The stage is set. 68 teams will battle for the chance to become the NCAA Division 1 national champion in the March Madness Tournament starting today with first-round games being played in Dayton, Ohio.

Tournament games are a “one and done” environment, ending the season for the losing team. This makes for intense match-ups and one of the most anticipated sporting events in the United States. The teams are set up in a bracket format, creating the well-known competitions where participants can pick their predictions on who will win, all the way up to predicting a national champion a month in advance.

“You really get to see how your choices are reflected,” junior Chandler Whitson. “It also feels good to see the teams that you picked win. It makes the tournament more exhilarating.”

The tournament includes top teams around the nation, with consistent appearances from teams in the local Atlantic Coast Conference, such as Duke, UNC and Virginia that become powerhouses throughout the tournament.

“The ACC is the best conference in the NCAA for college basketball,” junior Nick Gray said. “The tournament’s first and second round games [include] teams that no one has heard of, but the ACC is filled with solid talent.”

Every year, teams who are not heavily favored in the tournament can always shock the nation. Games usually consist of a lower seed defeating a higher seed. Upsets are becoming so common that one unbelievable run by a lower-seeded team is expected every tournament.

Below are predictions on the top teams accepted into the tournament:

Virginia: The Cavaliers finished the regular season with a 30-2 record, with a championship victory in the ACC tournament in Brooklyn. Their impressive defense and accurate three-point shooting will make the Cavaliers a favorite to win the tournament.

“I think Virginia will win because of their physical [toughness] and defensive mentality,” Whitson said. “They have a good offense, especially with Kyle Guy who can shoot well.”

Kansas: The Jayhawks, earning the #1 seed in the Midwest region, finished off their season with a victory against West Virginia in the Big 12 conference tournament. With star point guard Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman, Kansas will look to dominate their opponents offensively.

“Kansas has a good offense with Devonte’ Graham and others [around him] that can shoot,” Whitson said.

University of North Carolina: Earning the #2 seed in the West region, the defending national champions will look to have a repeat performance in the tournament. The Tar Heels will rely on the experience of seniors Joel Berry and Theo Pinson to lead the team to a successful tournament.

“I think they have the potential to win because of their mentality,” Whitson said. “They went through a tough schedule this year.”

Villanova: The Wildcats finished their Big East conference season in second place behind Xavier. The 2016 national champions will look to have a strong performance in the tournament, as they are highly favored to make the final four.

“They have a great defensive strategy and have quality shooters,” Whitson said.

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March is Mad: National Basketball Tournament is Underway