March Madness picks: What went wrong / Sweet 16- Final Four


Esteban Serrano, Lead Editor

“Shoulda… coulda…. woulda….” So many different words I have been hearing from people whose brackets are completely busted. It’s okay, I am one of them as well. There were a few mistakes I had that cost me some crucial points in the bracket challenge game.

Little did anyone think a First Four team make a run like UCLA did last year, but Notre Dame got as far as going to the second round, knocking out Alabama in the first. Baylor losing to North Carolina in the second round wasn’t as big of a shock as people think. Caleb Love has been shooting the ball well for them as well as being coached by one of the best, Hubert Davis.

Coach K’s run with Duke has seemed to only motivate the Blue Devils of Duke to get the job done. Michigan shocked a lot of people as an 11-seed to knock off Colorado State in the first round, a detrimental mistake I made when filling out my bracket.

For the first time ever, 10-seed Miami made it to the Elite Eight after knocking off No. 2 Auburn and No. 11 Iowa State. And probably what will be the most memorable run of any team in March Madness history, is No. 15 seed St. Peter’s from New Jersey, getting all the way to the Elite 8. They are the first team seeded 15 to do so. That was also the biggest bracket buster of this tournament.

So now the Final Four is set- on the left side, North Carolina will face Duke for the first time in history. The rivals will face off in the Final Four, deciding which of the two rivals will be in the National Championship game. On the other side, Villanova will face Kansas, who is the only No. 1 seed remaining in the tournament.

And then there were 4….

Now what? This is probably one of the most reasonable Final Fours in history, probably because these are four teams that are expected to be there. Four schools with basketball IQs above all the rest.

The one match everyone will be watching and keeping an eye on is the North Carolina vs Duke game. While this is not the first time they meet each other in the March Madness tournament, it is the first time ever they meet in the Final Four. The high intensity between the two schools- not just in the crowd, but on the court will be something special for sure. On the other side, Kansas and Villanova will face off for the first time in the Final Four since 2018- Villanova ended up winning the National Championship.

The other storyline is Coach K for Duke. This would be the 100th meeting between North Carolina and Duke under Coach K’s reign. Alarmingly, Duke leads all-time 50-49 in that category, and Coach K would secure the all-time victories under it. The rivalry will mentally get to both teams, and it will be something interesting. For this game, I say North Carolina comes out victorious. I didn’t expect Coach K’s magical ride to keep going and I don’t really think anyone did. If they somehow make it to the National Championship, it will be a game of defense because Caleb Love for North Carolina will be unstoppable when the ball is in his hand.

On the other hand, for Kansas and Villanova, I am going with my favorite to win the tournament- Kansas. They have really impressed me on the offensive game and that will be a factor against a Villanova team that is hungry to get back to the National Championship.