March Madness prediction: battle of the bulldogs in title game


Zach Markey, Sports Writer

My Final Four comes down to Villanova, Gonzaga, Louisville, and Butler to win the National Championship.


March has finally arrived, and in addition to the warmer weather and spring break, the infamous “March Madness” basketball tournament is set to begin. If you are unfamiliar, “March Madness” is an annual end-of-season Division I College Basketball tournament that takes place in the month of March. There are 64 different schools that compete in this tournament every year, however only one school comes out victorious in the very end. This event brings many exciting games with plenty of drama and emotion. In addition to watching the games themselves, over 100 million people each year like to predict the field of 64 by selecting each and every matchup and filling out their own bracket before the games start, to see how accurate theirs turns out compared to the actual results. As big of a sports fan as I am, I had to make my own bracket (pictured) and see how well I could do against my friends (and the whole internet) thanks to ESPN’s Tournament Challenge.

Each year with this tournament, there are many “upsets” where the underdog team prevails against the favorite. As you can see, I have a few of those in my selections. The first upset I have is the 14th-seeded New Mexico State Aggies taking down the 3rd-seeded Baylor Bears. Although the Bears are loved by many in the DFW area, I don’t see them going too far in the tournament. They have lost 6 of their last 11 games and are not the team they were in the beginning year. I believe this cold streak for Baylor will play a big factor, and help New Mexico State achieve their first win in the tournament since 1993.

Another pick that may surprise some people, is the fact that I have the 6th-seeded SMU Mustangs from Dallas in the “Elite 8”. In my opinion they will be 1 of the 8 teams left in the tournament, and it’s for good reason. Although having played mediocre competition in their conference all season, the Mustangs have a very balanced team and are on a 16 game winning-steak that many think will propel them far into the event, including myself.

However the most surprising part of my bracket may be that I have the 4th-seeded Butler Bulldogs advancing not only to the Final Four round, but to the National Title Game. Butler has played elite teams this year like 1st-seeded Villanova, and have performed at an elite level while defeating them. I truly believe that this elite play will transfer into the big tournament stage and lead them all the way to the National Championship, despite being an unlikely 4th seed.

After many upsets, my Final Four teams came down to Gonzaga, Villanova, Louisville, and the previously mentioned Butler Bulldogs. Butler is the lowest seed out of these teams at 4, while Louisville comes in at 2, and Villanova and Gonzaga stand at the top as 1 seeds. Out of these teams, I chose the Gonzaga Bulldogs to face the Butler Bulldogs in the National Championship Game. I feel as if these are the two most likely teams to make a run, but only one can actually win it all in my bracket. After intense research and thought, I decided to go with the Gonzaga Bulldogs to be my National Champion. Gonzaga has a rich and outstanding basketball program that seems to be in the tournament every year, however they have never really made a deep run, until this year. This Gonzaga team is thought of to be the best ever in the program’s history, and I see them grinding their way through the tournament to eventually reach glory by winning the National Championship.