Why are the brackets impossible to predict?

Nathan Travis, Staff Writer

The Final Four, the championship-deciding segment of March Madness, is approaching. There are four teams left(hence the name), which are 1-seed Gonzaga, 1-seed Baylor, 2-seed Houston, and 11-seed UCLA. It’s nice to have the beloved spring ritual back after the hectic 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, but most everyone’s bracket had several losses after just the first round. Now, we all know that March Madness is notorious for being wildly unpredictable, hence the name, but this year was on an even crazier level. Surely you could make the argument that two of the four one seeds are still alive, but the amount of upsets this year was incredible. Why was this tournament so unpredictable?


Filling out a bracket before the tournament is enjoyable, yet intriguing due to the difficulty of predicting so many games in a row. My bracket for this year was busted super early, I had 1-seed Illinois winning it all, but they lost in the Round of 32. Occasionally, you’ll see the 1-seeds go down in an upset, but are these rankings truly accurate to begin with? Due to the pandemic, teams only played against teams in their own conference, so they’re basically just playing the same few teams over and over without any true variation in their competition. College basketball seasons aren’t 70+ games like it is in the NBA, it’s significantly shorter than that ranging in the 20s. Any team could get hot within their conference and that’ll get their seed up in the tournament, but they haven’t played anyone outside of their conference. Having said that, trying to compare these teams wouldn’t be plausible. 


While I believe the seeding for this season was very inaccurate, there are definitely teams that proved that they were properly ranked. Gonzaga is undefeated so you can for sure give them the 1 in a heartbeat. But on the other side of the equation, Illinois may not have been worthy of a 1 seed, considering their early exit. Seeding wasn’t the only factor in this wild tournament this year; I could go on pointlessly explaining the seeding of teams, but you get the memo.


In 2020, we didn’t have March Madness, but it was certainly madness in March for everything else in the world. Without having a tournament the previous year, how do we know who’s best? We weren’t able to see who does well under the national spotlight or under the pressure of the top seed. Here’s some figures regarding brackets of some fellow iUP students:

  • 50% of the participants have a busted bracket
  • 75% of the participants selected Gonzaga to win it all
  • 75% of the participants have at least 25 losses


This year has already been wild enough, the brackets were unexplainably wacky, but who is going to win March Madness?