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Madness in the Bracket

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 by Katherine Clatterbuck

After a season of triumph, devastation, and surprises, the selection of the 68 teams playing in the men’s and women’s March Madness tournament has kicked off the competition and joy of post-season games. In the selections for the men’s tournament, there are notable selections, such as the Virginia Tech Hokies, who earned a spot in March Madness by winning the ACC tournament for the first time in college history in 15-point lead over Duke University. Many eyes are on Duke University as Coach K’s final season has added dramatic pressure on the team to have a spectacular end to his over 40 years as head coach. Another team to look out for is Auburn University, who had a devastating loss to Texas A&M in their conference tournament matchup after an incredible season for the Tigers. But, the team many think will come out on top is Gonzaga University. After winning their conference tournament against Saint Mary’s College, Gonzaga has set themselves up for incredible play in the NCAA tournament and is a team to watch out for.

Now on to a more exciting topic- the Women’s March Madness bracket! For the first time, the women’s bracket has expanded to 68 teams, seeing the addition of notable teams like Howard University and Florida State University. Greensboro, North Carolina is hosting one of the regional tournaments seeing incredible teams such as the widely favored South Carolina Gamecocks and the beloved North Carolina Tar Heels. After a heart-breaking loss in last year’s tournament with a missed layup by Aliyah Boston, the team has come back with a vengeance, proving to be dominant against conference and non-conference teams. With the return of Paige Bueckers after an injury at the beginning of UConn’s season, the team hopes the return of multiple injured or sick players will win them a tournament championship.

All eyes are on the NCAA as it begins its 2022 March Madness Tournament. After scandal last year when Oregon’s Sedona Price revealed on her TikTok account the unequal treatment women athletes faced by the NCAA at the March Madness tournament, pressure has risen for change. Small changes have been made by the NCAA, namely the use of gender labels on both men’s and women’s tournament marketing instead of just gender labeling women’s marketing. With fans creating their brackets and gearing up for weeks of basketball, there is hope for a more equal tournament, but skepticism as to the efforts of the NCAA to treat all athletes the same.