Michelle Berthiaume

Sports Editor


The thing about being the owner of a busted bracket is that it really is bittersweet by every definition of the word. I completely believe that the March Madness tournament is the most pure form of competition throughout all of sports. Obviously, it would be wonderful to fill out a bracket that you don’t want to light on fire after the first round of games.

But there’s nothing quite as pleasing as seeing a team like Florida Gulf Coast University surge past a Georgetown team that many had picked in their Final Four. And honestly, what’s better than watching Wichita State University beat the number one team in the country (Gonzaga) in the second round of the tournament?

Graphic by: Michelle Berthiaume / Sports Editor

Graphic by: Michelle Berthiaume / Sports Editor

This March Madness has simply been one for the record books so far. For the first time ever, a 15-seed made it to the Sweet Sixteen (Florida Gulf Coast University). According to ESPN.com, seeding began in 1979 and since then only seven 15-seeds have pulled off the miraculous upset over the two-seed. Three of these upsets have happened in the last two years.

This year, only one five-seed (VCU) made it past the first round (Oklahoma State, Wisconsin and UNLV all dropped first round games).  Two Florida schools will play each other in the tourney for the first time ever (Florida Gators and Florida Gulf Coast University). Two teams in the Sweet Sixteen are lower than a 13-seed for the first time ever (La Salle is a 13-seed while Florida Gulf Coast is a 15-seed).

My bracket may already be crumpled up in the dark corner of some room in my house that I don’t ever go in, but I can’t say that as a fan of college basketball I am upset by any means. And I am certainly not alone in the busted brackets department. According to ESPN.com, only 30,000 people picked Florida Gulf Coast University and La Salle to reach the Sweet Sixteen. That equals only .4 percent of EVERYONE that filled out a bracket this year.

And honestly, anyone who picked those two teams was probably drunk when they filled out their bracket. And if they were in fact sober, then they must be alumni of La Salle or Florida Gulf Coast. I really can’t think of any other reason why anyone in their right mind, that actually watches college basketball, would pick either of those teams to be where they are now.

La Salle’s run is not nearly as impressive as FGCU in my opinion. La Salle is playing in the Whacky West region which has completely stumped everyone thus far. Gonzaga, Ohio State and Arizona were the only higher seeds to advance from the first round. EVERY OTHER team that made it to the round of 32 was classified as the underdog in their opening game. Kansas State, Wisconsin and New Mexico completely shocked the sports world by dropping their first round games to 13-seed La Salle, 12-seed Ole Miss and 14-seed Harvard, respectively.

The only team that I still have in the Sweet Sixteen from the West Region is Ohio State and I predicted them to lose to Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. But we all know how that’s going to go for me. Not to mention that the Buckeyes barely escaped an embarrassing loss to Iowa State when OSU’s Aaron Craft knocked down a late three pointer to give his team the win.

I don’t even think my bracket is really THAT bad. Most of the picks that I got wrong were actually almost statistically impossible to get right.

I still have six of the eight teams I picked for the Elite Eight. I am only missing one team from my Final Four (Gonzaga). And both of the teams that I have playing for the National Championship are playing extremely well.

Another pick of mine that I am feeling very confident in is Michigan. Although they slid a little after their terrific start this season, they are playing solid March basketball. VCU is always expected to be a tough opponent come March. And I think a lot of people thought that the Wolverines were going to drop that game.

But Michigan handled VCU with ease, sending them packing with a 73-58 win. The Wolverines will be playing in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1994.

It has been truly fantastic to watch Florida Gulf Coast University have so much success in this tournament. They have played with everything a team needs to win in March, including spunk and heart. They have even earned themselves a nickname: Dunk City.

Their electric alley-oop in the opening round of the tournament may go down as the dunk of the year. But I really do think that their luck is about to run out. Obviously, seeing them in the Elite Eight or the Final Four would be truly amazing. But the Florida Gators are a very good team this year.

And I would be thoroughly surprised if this historic run included a Sweet Sixteen win over the University of Florida.


Michelle Berthiaume 

can be contacted at mberthiaume@keene-equinox.com

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