March Madness brackets start to unfold


Neal Hausmann

Neal Hausmann continuously supports the sports team at his alma mater, University of Iowa.

Bracket-busting season is back! The thrill of March Madness returns on March 12th, when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are seeded on Selection Sunday. 

March Madness is an annual college basketball tournament which consists of 64 teams for women and 68 teams for men. The term “madness” comes from its unpredictability, as the tournament is single elimination and often leads to huge upsets. 

A big part of the hype surrounding the tournament comes from building brackets, in which fans try to guess which teams will advance and win the tournament. 

According to the NCAA, there has never been a perfect documented bracket. Still, many VHHS students test their luck and try to achieve the seemingly impossible feat. 



VHHS students have varied reasons for watching and enjoying the tournament itself. Some, such as Humzah Bokhary (11) and Ben Castle (10), simply love watching high-level basketball. Others have a team they hope will go all the way to the championship. 

For example, Brady Larsen (9) is rooting for Villanova. He said he started rooting for them years ago as a “bandwagon” and even though they are no longer strong contenders, he continues to support them. 

On the other hand, Jasmine Paddock (12) has been a Duke University fan for a really long time. 

“Duke has always been my favorite, since I was little. First it started out with I like the color blue, and their colors matched perfectly. Then it was because I liked Coach K, and I’ve followed them since I was four,” she said. 

Paddock also likes watching the University of South Carolina’s women’s team and Caitlin Clark, who is the starting point guard for Iowa. 

Every year, Paddock makes two special brackets (one men’s and one women’s) in which Duke wins. However, she said it rarely ever works out well for her. 

Danny Conlon (12) is hoping for the downfall of Paddock’s favorite team. 

“I want to see Baylor, Gonzaga, and Duke lose because I’ve seen them win way too much and I don’t want to see it again,” he said.

Instead, Conlon’s team of choice is Notre Dame University. 

“I have a ton of family members who went there, so I kind of grew up supporting them. I’ve gone to a few games of theirs and all my family are really big supporters,” he said. 

Noah Grijnsztein (12) is a Michigan University fan, but since the team may not make the tournament this year, he is rooting for Houston to win it all. 

“I like Michigan because my brother goes to school there, so I’ve been a fan of them. I just think Houston has the best team. I like their coach a lot and they play really good basketball,” he said. 

On the contrary, Grijnsztein is not a fan of Kansas’ men’s team. 

“I hate Kansas. I think their fans are fair-weather and bandwagons. They won it last year and I want to see a new team win it all,” he said. 

Elyse Davis (11) agreed with Grijnsztein in wishing for the elimination of Kansas. For the women’s tournament, she wants South Carolina to lose. 

Rather, Davis hopes Indiana will win the tournament. 

“My family has all gone to school there, they’re a huge basketball school. They have the best stadiums, it’s always filled with fans of the game. Everyone is always cheering and it’s always super loud, ” she said.



According to NBC News, the NCAA was under fire for undervaluing their female athletes in March Madness in 2021. 

The controversy stemmed from released photos showing the difference in weight rooms for the men’s and women’s 2021 tournament. The women’s teams were given small dumbbell racks, while the men’s teams were given large facilities with plates and hefty equipment. 

Since then, the NCAA has taken some measures to ensure equity, starting with extending the “March Madness” slogan to the women’s tournament as well. 

Paddock, who plays basketball herself and is an avid follower of women’s college basketball, reflected on the situation. 

“It really made me mad that they weren’t given the same treatment. They’re college teams too, and they’re bringing in revenue. It sucks that they don’t get the treatment they deserve,” she said. 

Paddock believes the solution to the disparities is to give the women’s teams more attention. 

According to Davis, her favorite team, Indiana, has done a really good job of doing that. 

“At IU, the women’s games are always huge because everyone tries to go and support them. Indiana really loves basketball, and they don’t care if it’s women’s or men’s. The men’s players go to the women’s games, the women’s players go to the men’s games. It’s a really nice environment,” she said.  



Neal Hausmann, chemistry and physics teacher, is a big-time Iowa University fan. He attended the school and loved the sports atmosphere.

“You see all the games, everyone stops what they’re doing whenever Iowa plays. It was a great environment and the school spirit was amazing. Even after graduating, I keep going back to games because it’s a blast and brings back memories,” he said. 

In his opinion, Iowa does a great job of making sure to highlight the women’s tournament as well. 

“Everyone stops to watch Caitlin Clark play at Iowa. They’ve been on Fox a lot recently, nationally televised just to see Caitlin Clark. She’s really bringing WNBA and women’s NCAA basketball a lot of spotlight,” he said. 

Hausmann believes that the addition of Clark was very important to Iowa women’s basketball viewership. 

“I’ve watched all of Iowa women’s basketball, my four or five years I was there, because we always had a star player, but nothing like Caitlin Clark. It was definitely not televised, I still watched it, but it was not as popular by far,” he said. 

For men’s basketball, Kris Murray is his favorite player. He recently met his older brother Keegan Murray, who plays for the Sacramento Kings. 

There are also a number of teams Hausmann dislikes. 

“Iowa State is our in-state rival. I very much dislike Illinois, just because my siblings went there. Basketball-wise, it’s the Blue-Bloods: Duke, Kansas [North Carolina, Kentucky]. Just because they’re always winning. Give Iowa a chance,” he said. 

Hausmann said that the best part of March Madness is that so many people are into it. 

“Everyone wants to fill out a bracket. Everyone is talking about one thing at once it’s exciting,” he said. 

During March Madness he often shows his bracket to his class, which is usually busted after the first rounds. Even in class, he said he sees kids watching the March Madness games all the time. 

In his own family, Hausmann has a bracket competition. 

“We always fill out brackets separately and see who does the best. Usually my sister, who picks the best mascot, does the best. I might take that strategy this time, rather than using actual knowledge of basketball,” he joked.