One was playing in its first ever NCAA tournament, while the other had been invited 28 times.
One was considered a college basketball castoff, while the other was considered college basketball royalty.
And one had the goal of a competitive game, while the other had the goal of cutting down the nets.
Everything in the match-up pointed to Florida Gulf Coast’s quick demise. Only six 15 seeds have ever won their opening round in the nearly 30 years since the NCAA tournament was created. No one gave them much of a chance.
And yet, this history, meant nothing when 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast faced off against two seed Georgetown on March 22, 2013. Florida Gulf Coast won in a stunning 78-68 upset. No one saw it coming.
Including Staples students.
“March Madness has been absolutely atrocious for me. Florida Gulf Coast? Ain’t nobody got time for that,” joked Nick Dedomenico ’14.
While some, like Dedomenico, bemoaned the upsets that ruined their brackets, others saw the upside.
“I love seeing teams that never get a chance in the national spotlight become household names thereafter with impressive runs like FGCU,” said Adam Dulsky ’14.
Avidly watching the NCAA tournament and filling out brackets – whether to see if you are the next Nostradamus, or get to know up-and-coming teams, or just to watch great basketball – is a cultural phenomenon and one of America’s biggest sporting events.
It is also a Staples pastime. Every year students – mostly boys – enter various brackets. The largest one, “The Big Dance,” has over 180 members.
“The ‘Big Dance’ is by far the largest pool in Staples, consisting of well over 100 brackets. These brackets are scored the standard way, based on number of games picked correctly…It is intense to say the least,” said Chris Wilk ’14.
Dedomenico added, ‘“If you win the ‘Big Dance,’ you’re the freaking king.”
Wilk participates in another pool, which is run by Dulsky. In this pool, upset points are used. This means if you choose an upset and get it right, you get extra points. Wilk is not a fan of this system.
“Adam Dulsky (the brilliant mind behind this plan) took a poll of all of the members of the pool seeing who would like to incorporate upset points in to the scoring. I am certain he used blackmail and some form of witchcraft to win the poll by a very small margin. I voted no, as did everyone who didn’t give in to his tricks.”
Though some might say that the intensity and trash-talk reaches unreasonable heights during the month, students assure that it is in all good fun, and in the end, no one really knows what they are talking about.
“March Madness is entertaining because no matter how much someone claims to know about it, nobody knows anything. It’s all luck. Complete luck,” said Sam Reach ’14.
Dedomenico echoed Reach’s statements, adding that the fun comes in declaring your superiority over your friends.
“It is so much fun due to the fact that it’s the opportune time to absolutely rail on your friends and proclaim yourself the alpha male in a game dominated by absolutely no one,” he said.