It’s 6 p.m. on a Sunday night, but it isn’t just a typical Sunday night. Ryan Baer ’16 sprints for the TV remote, pushing away the empty Gatorade bottles and tomato-sauce stained pizza boxes in his path. He quickly flips to CBS for the start to his most awaited night of the year. It’s Selection Sunday.
After waiting for what seemed like hours, his favorite team’s seed flashes on the screen: the Duke Blue Devils are ranked third in the Midwest Region.
“Are you serious?” he exclaims, then slams a basketball against the wall. The madness of March has begun.
Selection Sunday brings out an array of emotions. For many, Selection Sunday is a joyous occasion. It’s a wedding. It’s a birthday. It’s a retirement party. For others, the day is unfair and heart-wrenching. It’s a failed test. It’s a sick dog. It’s a funeral.
Duke third? Louisville fourth? Kentucky eighth?
It’s a funeral.
However, whether a 16-seed or a one-seed, everyone still has hope at this stage in the game. Twenty-two days of possibilities.
This year’s Selection Sunday was a wild one with screaming headlines: Can the Shockers complete the first perfect season since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers? Is Louisville’s seeding far too low? Can Stephen F. Austin be this year’s Cinderella story? Does Michigan St. have a legitimate shot at the title?
Time for the bracket-busting to begin.
It’s March Madness. Selection Sunday.
Billion dollar bust
It’s 2:15 on Friday afternoon, and the first game on Day Two is coming to a close. Staples students storm through the hallways, wreaking havoc as 14th-seed Mercer threatens to upset three-seed Duke.
One of these students, John Fincher ‘16, is shocked as he exits exercise science and immediately fixates on his MacBook computer. Once he reaches the chaos in the bus area, he finds himself watching helplessly as his bus departs without him.
Five minutes later, he’s still looking at the scoreboard, standing out on the sidewalk, and there’s an emphatic 0:00 on the clock. Mercer has done the unexpected.
“There goes my shot at a billion dollars,” he sighs.
Bracket-busting galore. This upset left millions around the country asking for answers, and Staples students too.
“I was completely shocked when Duke lost. I had them going to the Final 4. Upsets can really mess up your bracket,” Ben Foster ‘16 said.
Yet, March Madness shocks the nation time and time again. Each year, people think their bracket is flawless, and each year the college basketball gods say no.
Suddenly, an update streaks across the bottom of ESPN: 0 perfect brackets remain out of 11-million plus entered.
It’s yet another year with no perfect bracket.
One last shot
It’s 3:07 on Sunday afternoon and it’s time for tip-off for one of the most highly anticipated games in the NCAA tournament. The Shockers of Wichita State continue their strive for perfection as perennial powerhouse Kentucky looks to put an end to the Shockers’ madness.
Fritz Schemel ’17 clicks on his friend’s TV, praying for a Wichita State win and some more green on his bracket. After a strong first half performance by the Shockers, he’s sure that his Sweet Sixteen pick is a lock.
“Although they had a lot of people doubting them, I think after the first half a lot of people, including me, were confident that they could not only win the game but contend with top teams later on.”
However, with 0:03 left in regulation and a 78-76 Kentucky lead, just one shot remains for Wichita State’s undefeated season.
Fritz and his friends huddle, screaming at the TV and hoping for a bracket-saving game winner. Hoping for greatness to happen.
Would Wichita State answer the critics and prove why they’re 35-0? Or would Kentucky show the country that mid-majors cannot hang with the big dogs?
The answer was riding on this one vital shot. A statement shot.
Finally, the ball was inbounded and an open three-point hook was lofted high into the air. Hearts were broken and dreams were shattered as the ball pounded off the back rim.
It was all over.