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The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

March Madness Marquee matchups

March Madness is tipping off with intense matchups and potential upsets on the horizon! Photo courtesy of ESPN.

As the 2024 March Madness tournament begins this week, basketball fans all over the country eagerly anticipate one of the year’s most exciting events. With the tournament set to feature some of the best college basketball teams in the country, March Madness promises to be an unforgettable event that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. 

On Sunday, the teams and official bracket were released, and now, a few predictions can be made based on the performance of teams in the current season. The top contenders all seeded at a No. 1 seed are the UConn Huskies, Houston Cougars, Purdue Boilermakers, and North Carolina Tar Heels, all of whom have shown impressive performances throughout the year. 

However, as any college basketball fan knows, March Madness is full of surprises and unexpected upsets, so it’s impossible to predict exactly which teams will come out on top. With so much on the line, every team will be giving it their all to secure a spot in the coveted Final Four. Here are some intriguing first-round matchups that might lead to a busted bracket: 

Midwest Region

(5) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (12) McNeese Cowboys – Thursday @ 4:25

The Zags are always in the conversation to win the whole tournament, but this year has been a little different. With a few lackluster performances during the season, they’ve found themselves in a non-favorable 5v12 matchup. The McNeese Cowboys have only lost three times this season. Add in the fact that the Cowboys’ offense scores 80.5 points per game and only gives up 61.5 points per game… there’s a real game to watch. 

(5) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (12) Samford Bulldogs – Thursday @ 6:55

Injuries have been a problem for Kansas as of late. Kevin Cullar Jr. and Hunter Dickinson should be good to go for the tournament; however, might have their minutes limited. On the flip side, the Bulldogs like to press on defense and push on offense. Could Samford’s choas cannon overwhelm Kansas? Can’t wait to find out. 

West Region

(11) New Mexico Lobos vs. (6) Clemson Tigers – Friday @ 12:10

There is a very high likelihood that the Tigers of Clemson get knocked out. Clemson does not have a very solid rebounding team. Meanwhile, New Mexico has one of the best offensive-rebounding teams in the nation. Include putbacks and second-chance points… now there’s a team searching to make an upset. 

South Region

(4) Duke Blue Devils vs. (13) Vermont Catamounts – Friday @ 4:10

Vermont may not be the favorite. But after a 9-5 start, they have gone 19-1. Duke had an early exit in the first round of their own ACC tournament at the expense of NC State. Do the Catamounts have what it takes to continue their hot streak? 

(11) North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. (6) Texas Tech Red Raiders – Thursday @ 6:40

The Wolfpack won five games in as many days as it took to win their conference tournament, the first time they did so in 37 years. They’ll take a crack at Texas Tech who have an impressive 3-point shooting percentage, ranking 40th in the nation. Can NC State continue to ride their win streak? 

Obviously, there are a bunch of other matchups that are upset-worthy. Drake vs Washington State and Northwestern vs FAU in the South region look interesting. However, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of TV drama in that region. 

One thing is for sure–the 2024 March Madness tournament promises to be an event basketball fans won’t want to miss. With talented players, high-stakes games, and plenty of excitement, this will surely be one of the most memorable tournaments in history. So, mark your calendars and get ready to cheer on your favorite teams as they battle it out for a chance at glory!

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About the Contributor
Lucas Eussen
Lucas Eussen, Journalist
Lucas Eussen is a senior attending Olympia High School. Lucas likes to be outdoors and swim. If he's not outside or in the pool, Lucas enjoys being with his friends and family.

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