The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post

Talk Around Campus: Students discuss March Madness predictions and opinions

This year’s March Madness tournament has caused an uproar among sports fans and critics alike, with many upsets and controversies in both the men’s and women’s brackets. Whether it was Jack Gohlke’s ten three pointers that propelled the thirteenth-seeded Oakland Golden Grizzlies over the third-seeded Kentucky Wildcats, Stanford senior Cameron Brink fouling out of her final collegiate game, North Carolina State University’s men’s and women’s teams both making the Final Four, or the debatable foul call potentially costing the University of Connecticut’s women’s team a trip to the national championship, the drama on the court has captivated spectators throughout the three weeks of its duration. 

March Madness consists of 68 Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball teams in a sudden-death matchup style. South Carolina took the women’s championship yesterday evening, capping off an undefeated season, while the men’s championship game—between Purdue University and the University of Connecticut—takes place at 6:20 p.m. today. On Friday, March 29, Harker Aquila interviewed five students on their March Madness opinions and predictions. Listen to their thoughts in the video below. 


Which teams are you rooting for?

Claire Miao (12), mens’ brackets: Everyone else I talked to, they have pretty much predictable winners–they have UConn, Purdue. I have Creighton winning it all, third seed. But, they’re doing well so far. And in my final four, I had Dayton in the final four, but they got out. But I’m still in the 99th percentile right now.

Jonathan Li (9), men’s brackets: UConn, because I picked them in my bracket. They’ve been playing really well this year, so I think that they have a really good chance to win.

Veyd Patil (12), men’s brackets: I was rooting for Auburn but they lost in the first round, so now I’m rooting for UConn. I was between UConn or Auburn because they would’ve beat each other, and I had Auburn winning that match up, but they lost, so I just went with who I thought would be the second best team—UConn.

Alicia Yan (10), women’s brackets: I’m rooting for South Carolina because I said they would win on my bracket, and I want my bracket to win. But besides that, I kind of want UConn to win because they had this streak of going to the Final Four for like 30 something seasons, maybe? And it broke last season. And you know, they’re kind of like underdogs I feel like, because a lot of their players are injured right now.

Khanhlinh Tran (11), women’s brackets: For my overall winner, for the women’s bracket, I have South Carolina. Honestly, they just are really strong, overall their team is very consistent, and I really like the way they coach. But there’s a lot of other contenders, like LSU and Texas and so on.


Which team do you think will win? 

Claire:  UConn’s looking good. UConn’s looking good, Purdue’s looking good. I think they’re playing tonight, so we’ll see how that goes. And also Duke’s looking pretty solid.

Veyd: UConn. Well, they’ve beaten all of their opponents by double digits since last year’s March Madness, and they’re defending champs. And just offensively and defensively, they’re a way better team this year than last year. And they just beat San Diego State by 30 yesterday, and San Diego State’s an insanely good defensive team, and they still ran through them, so I don’t think any other team can defensively stop them.

Alicia: I think South Carolina would probably win, mainly because their team is not reliant on a single person doing well for their team to succeed. Because if you look at ESPN’s rankings and stuff like that, most of South Carolina’s players aren’t in the top ten best female basketball players. So I feel like that shows a lot of their team chemistry and how consistent they are, because each player only needs to score like ten points and their team can still win, while teams such as Iowa, for example, they’re reliant on their best player, Caitlin Clark, on scoring like 30 points a game for them to succeed.


Any specific players you’re following? 

Jonathan: I think Zach Edey from Purdue because he’s really interesting to watch and it’s his final chance to win March Madness. He’s really tall and scores a ton of points, so it’s really hard to stop him.

Alicia: So obviously Caitlin Clark, because she’s been breaking records this season and I would like to see her make a deep run again this year and have some exciting games because she’s a fun player to watch. But then also UConn’s Paige Bueckers because personally, she’s my favorite player and she’s been injured for two seasons. And this is her first March Madness in like one and a half years, maybe one year or two years. So I’d like her to kind of redeem herself and lead this team, because their team has a lot of injured players right now. I guess another player I want to watch out for is Juju Watkins, who goes to USC, because she’s probably a contender for freshman of the year right now, and she’s one of the best players, even though she’s just a freshman, and she basically led USC to the NCAA tournament. So I’d like her to continue to do that. And I want to see Paige Bueckers and Juju Watkins match up because they’re in the same division. 


What matchups—players or teams—are you looking forward to?

Claire: Before, I was looking forward to Arizona and UNC, but they both lost. So that was kind of a match-up that everyone was looking forward to, but they lost. But definitely any powerhouse teams like Purdue, Gonzaga, UConn, Duke—any time they’re playing, it’s going to be a fun matchup. Houston, too.

Jonathan: I think UConn against Illinois is going to be really interesting, because they’re two very good offensive teams. 

Veyd: I was rooting for UNC versus Arizona, but then they both lost yesterday. So I’m a little bit disappointed in that, but I’m really hoping that I get to see Duke versus Creighton, because that’s who I have in my bracket, and I would like my bracket to do well.

Alicia: I just said Paige Buecker and Juju Watkins, and if both of them win their next games which is tomorrow, I think, I would like to see them match up because I think they’re pretty similar players, and their teams are also pretty similar. Another matchup I’m interested in is probably Stanford versus Texas, because Texas has this really talented freshman forward and I would like to see her match up against Stanford’s more experienced forwards and centers like Cameron Brink and Kiki Iriafen.

Khanhlinh: Hopefully, I really want to see LSU versus Iowa again. I think they’re both iconic teams, and they’re really well known, like Angel Reese versus Caitlin Clark again would be a really cool match-up to see.


Do you have any  predictions for upsets or opinions on past upsets so far?

Claire: One of my friends convinced me that McNeese was going to beat Gonzaga in the first round, and he told our entire advisory that McNeese is going to win, like go to the Final Four or something. And I believed him, and I had Gonzaga losing to McNeese, but Gonzaga absolutely blew them out. So I feel like it’s really hard to predict upsets and I don’t know, like, sure, maybe 14, 15, but it’s kind of hard to predict 16 over one seed or something. 

Jonathan: I think the games have been really exciting this year. Not as many upsets as in past years, so that’s a bit disappointing because they’re fun to watch. I think the Alabama win last night was really cool, because they were the overall number one seed last year, but they didn’t make it that far, but this year, they performed better against a really good team.

Khanhlinh: One of the bigger ones was probably Louisville versus Middle Tennessee, which I somehow predicted, but I don’t know how. So that was a really big upset, but upsets are really hard to predict because they’re, I think especially with 11th and 12th seeds, those can upset really easily.


Bonus Question: How is your bracket doing?

Claire: My guys’ bracket is doing really well. Yeah. And my girls’ bracket’s not doing well.

Veyd: I had Auburn winning it all, so my main bracket kind of sucks, but my second bracket  where I have UConn winning, that one’s doing a little bit better, not amazing, because I just picked other match-ups that I didn’t think would actually happen in case they happened, but yeah.

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About the Contributors
Selina Xu
Selina Xu, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Selina Xu (12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Selina hopes to hold engaging conversations and capture heartwarming moments on campus. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and ingesting boba at an alarming rate.
Claire Yu
Claire Yu, Reporter
Claire Yu (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Claire hopes to take more photos and not fall behind on her deadlines. In her free time, Claire enjoys listening to music, reading and playing basketball.

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