Reactions from the 2021 March Madness Bracket Reveal

Story posted March 15, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

After a year of no postseason for college basketball, March Madness has returned to the sports world.

This time around, all 67 games will be condensed into the city of Indianapolis, with six locations across the entire state of Indiana. These venues will play host to a bubble environment that will keep all teams until eliminated, disqualified due to a COVID-19 outbreak, or crowned as a national champion.

As the bracket was revealed on Sunday, some key games popped out of the screen, causing for some debate whether to take winners to create the perfect bracket which all fans yearn for.

The Classic 5-12 Upset

Since the field of 68 expanded in 1985, there has been at least one twelve-seed to upset a five-seed in 29 out of the last 35 years, excluding the 2020 season. The bracket reveal may have given the opportunity for the twelve seeds to sweep the five seeds this year.

One upset that stands out the most would have to be the Winthrop Eagles going against an injury-riddled Villanova Wildcats team. Winthrop has managed to put up points this year, leading to their near perfect season, but Villanova is no stranger to this tournament. Expect a battle to the end.

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are a team that found its groove at the right time, and they face a Creighton BlueJays team dealing with personal conflicts between the players and head coach Greg McDermott. The small disconnect between these two parts may lead to a meltdown on the court, where UCSB can strike and head to the second round.

The Hoyas of Georgetown have been playing great basketball as of late, especially in their conference tournament.

The Colorado Buffaloes are coming off a brutal loss in the Pac-12 Championship game, and head coach Patrick Ewing has found his rhythm and has the late John Thompson watching over his team. The Hoyas also seem to have a Kemba Walker or UConn feel to them, so expect a deep run from this team.

The Volunteers of Tennessee may have the best chance to escape with a win over the Oregon State Beavers. Both teams look similar on the stat sheet, but the tough competition of the SEC has prepared Tennessee to take on the best of the Pac-12 and beat them in the tournament, even though this game can go both ways.

Colgate Upset

Coming out of the Patriot League, the Colgate Raiders look to shock the world when they face Eric Mussleman’s Arkansas Razorbacks. The Raiders can find a way to upset the third seeded team in the South Region.

Colgate is second in the nation in points per game, only trailing the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs. Averaging around 86 points per game, the Raiders rely heavily on three-point shot with a 40% season average from behind the arc.

Arkansas is not known for their scoring ability, but they do provide some size against a small ball team like Colgate. However, the three ball and mid-major teams call for some amazing upsets, and this game fits that criteria.

Team of Destiny: The Stars Align

The Gonzaga Bulldogs try to do what many teams have failed to do: become an undefeated national champion. And based on history, the stars may have aligned to provide the team their first national championship.
1976.

That was the last year an undefeated team won a national championship, and that happened to be the Indiana Hoosiers. That same year, both Duke and Kentucky failed to make the tournament. These circumstances are an identical set up this year.

Gonzaga has arguably their best team in program history, and with three candidates for the Wooden Award, Mark Few could finally get the monkey off his back as a “new blood”. This team is special, and they have the assets to win it all this time around.

With last year’s cancellation, all there is to do is cherish this tournament. The fans were robbed last year, but the Big Dance is back for us to enjoy.

Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.