Let The Madness Begin!

The much-anticipated NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins today.

Manas Kathir, Staff Writer

When it comes to sports, there is nothing better than competition. And when it comes to March Madness, the competition is not only high for the NCAA Athletes but also for the fans. Making brackets for March Madness is a tradition for many students, so as we approach the first game of the tournament, what are some key first-round matchups to look at? 

8 and 9 seeds are usually matchups that can go either way, as Boise State (8) battles Memphis (9), Seton Hall faces off against TCU (9), North Carolina (8) takes on Marquette (9), and San Diego State (8) faces Creighton (9). All of these matchups are set to be close and will come down to the wire most likely. 

A game that many are looking forward to is Ohio State (7) takes on Loyola-Chicago (10). Both teams ruined many people’s brackets last year as Ohio State lost to Oral Roberts as a 2 seed last year and Loyola-Chicago upset Illinois, who were one of the teams expected to reach the end. If at their best, many say Ohio State has the ability to defeat anyone, so it will be interesting to see how they try to redeem themselves this year. 

Next, UConn (5) faces off against New Mexico State (12) in a game which some think will be one-sided, but others think could be an upset. New Mexico State has consistently been able to get a spot in the NCAA Tournament over the years and their experience could help them in trying to upset UConn. 

Furthermore, Murray State (7) will have their hands full as they try to defeat San Francisco (10) in what is going to be a thrilling contest. San Francisco has not made the tournament since 1998, so they are determined to take advantage of this opportunity. Murray State, on the other hand, has been able to stay relevant over the years and their basketball program continues to develop (remember JA MORANT!!) 

After that, Providence (4) takes on South Dakota State (13). Both of these teams are known for always keeping games close and high-scoring. Providence is only favored to win by two, despite being nine seeds higher. This matchup is likely to please many people and scare them, knowing that an upset could potentially happen. 

Illinois (4) will take on Chattanooga (13), as both teams are set to put on a show in a fantastic first-round matchup. Illinois last year had expectations of making it to the final round but instead nose-dived and lost to Loyola-Chicago in the first round. Will it happen again? People are nervous, knowing that it is a strong possibility. Chattanooga will bring back their big man, Silvio De Sousa, adding a lot more pressure to Illinois. 

Finally, the game which everyone is looking forward to is none other than Michigan State (7) against Davidson (10). Both basketball programs have a strong history. Great NBA legends like Draymond Green and Magic Johnson played basketball for the Spartans, while Stephen Curry was a straight-up superstar at Davidson.

There are so many storylines going on with this confrontation, which is set for Friday. First, Davidson’s scoring leader Foster Loyer will be going up against a squad that he is familiar with, as he used to compete for the Spartans. Second, if the Spartans were to win, it would most likely set up a Duke Blue Devils vs Michigan State Spartans game in the second round. Many hope this happens, as it would be a matchup between arguably the two best college basketball coaches, Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo. This tournament will be the last of Krzyzewski’s, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. 

The 2021-2022 March Madness Tournament is here, and the players are ready. The fans are ready. The coaches are ready. The viewers are ready. The only question that remains is this: Is your bracket ready?