The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


Winners, losers, and [im]perfect brackets

March 18th, 2024 — the date when the month of March officially starts: a sunny day, where I ate yet another lunch at the red tables outside of the WCC. But that day was special. As soon as we finished eating, my friends and I rushed to our laptops to complete the arduous task of picking winners and losers for the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. It was time for March Madness.

Lakeside Student Government, promising cash prizes, created March Madness groups for both tournaments. These ESPN groups allow members to check their points and standings in comparison to others in the school. With 68 members in the men’s and 39 in the women’s, my odds of winning were next to nothing.

It’s clear that everyone has different strategies for creating their brackets. Some people pick the higher ranked team every chance they get, while others pick teams based on their parents’ alma maters. My strategy consisted of picking a couple of believable upsets, as well as a high-ranked champion that was not necessarily the favorite to win. In the coming weeks, the tournament started up in earnest, and I began to constantly check my phone for score updates. Unsurprisingly, I spent more time last month on the ESPN Tournament Challenge app than on Instagram.

This March Madness tournament quickly became a whirlwind of emotions for fans all around the United States. Both the men’s and women’s tournaments saw dominant teams coming out on top. UConn, the men’s defending champions, won yet another national tournament. For the women’s tournament, the undefeated South Carolina team was on fire, with comfortable wins throughout the stages. Maybe it really does pay off to pick the favorites!

The men’s tournament saw its fair share of upsets that dropped people’s brackets an embarrassing number of places down. As more and more teams were eliminated, the upsets got even more significant. In the Sweet 16 round, No. 1 seed teams University of North Carolina and University of Houston, both chosen champions of many people, were defeated by No. 4 seeds Alabama and Duke respectively.

The biggest story of the women’s tournament, maybe even of March Madness altogether, was undoubtedly Caitlin Clark. The number one pick in this year’s WNBA draft, she never ceased to amaze with her basketball prowess, shooting three-pointers far out from the three-point line (her signature “logo threes”). She was spectacular to watch — and the statistics don’t lie about this. The women’s tournament got so much more attention this year: as Caitlin Clark broke record after record, more and more Americans tuned in for her games. This year’s women’s tournament was the most watched of all time.

In the end, as always in March Madness, some brackets lose and others win big. The promised glory of StudGov’s March Madness bracket challenge goes to Victoria G. ’25 for the men’s tournament and Xavier G. ’27 for the women’s tournament.

“I’ve always loved watching all sports,” Victoria comments, “but the nature of the upset and the difficulty of creating a perfect bracket makes [March Madness] so fun.” I, for one, am in total agreement. The craze of bracket creation makes watching college basketball even better.

Women’s tournament champion Xavier notes that his North Carolina State prediction was the most vital to his win: “I chose this N.C. State team to make it far because I noticed early on in the season that they upset No. 2 UConn and No. 3 Colorado.” Perhaps the real strategy to pick upsets — rather than picking at random — is analysis of past games, looking at how well certain teams have performed against higher ranked teams.

Hopefully, next year’s March Madness tournament will bring some new luck for me. I’m manifesting a first place finish in either of the Lakeside 2025 tournaments — or, you never know, maybe even the first ever perfect bracket. And that’s what makes March Madness magical.

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About the Contributor
Sachi T. '26
Contrary to her taste in watching action-packed Mission Impossible style movies, writer Sachi T. ‘26 often enjoys reading feel-good books. She has been dancing for 11 years, mostly in the style of Indian classical, and she's been attending Lakeside since sixth grade. At the school, she plays the viola in orchestra and participates in Model UN events. At home, Sachi adores her golden retriever and watches football and cricket. She also likes to travel with her family, having been to 14 different countries. One fun fact about Sachi is that she has a collection of shot glasses from every place she has visited!

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