The Madness of March Has Begun: Who We Think Is Winning It All

Published on March 21, 2019

The First Four games at the University of Dayton Arena is a very exciting time, it marks the beginning of March Madness which is one of the best events in all of sports. Every team has a chance to make a large upset and move on to the next round in hopes to hoist the trophy and cut down that net.

On April 22, 2010 the NCAA announced that they tournament would be expanded to 68 teams with an additional four “Play-in-Games” which would start with the 2011 tournament. The term “First Four” was deemed by the broadcast media opposed to the “Final Four” which ended off the tournament.

Why Dayton, Ohio?

There are several reasons in which Dayton, Ohio was the selected location for these games:

#1—Accessibility Via The Dayton International Airport

Dayton is within 600 miles of over 50% of the U.S population which makes it easier for travel. Dayton is also referred to the “Crossroads of America” due to the interstates 70 and 75 running by the city.

#2—Eastern Time Zone Is Where It’s At

For those whom cannot make it to the game, they want the viewing on the television more accessible as well, being in Eastern Standard Time is ideal for television. Year over year, Dayton has drawn ratings and viewership of millions of fans.

#3—It’s Tradition and Will Be Through 2022

The University of Dayton has held the First Four games since 2011, before this the play-in game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was held every season from 2001-2010. Dayton tried for a 10-year commitment from the NCAA in 2013 but was decided against. Recently in 2017 the NCAA announced that UD Arena would have an extension through 2022 and would get a 4-year extension beyond 2018.

#4—Dayton Is On the Map, Especially for the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Comparatively to other cities around the nation, Dayton is on the smaller scale, which means that a large event such as the First Four really stands out, putting Dayton on the map.

The U.S Air Force also swears in new recruits during the halftime of one of games as the stands are filled with local Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The Bracket is Set, Who Will Win?

One of the main reasons that March Madness is such as great event is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a college basketball analyst, or a basketball novice, because essentially, we all have the same shot of getting our brackets correct.

Each game of each round has the making of a large upset and completely ruining your bracket. Numerous occasions we’ve seen high seeded teams take down some major powerhouses such as a 15th seed Hampton taking out a 2nd seed Iowa State in 2001 of the first round.

There was also a 15th seed Middle Tennessee State knocking down the 2nd seed Michigan State in the first round. Of course, nobody can forget last year when the 16th seed UMBC a 20.5-point underdog took down the mighty 1st seeded Virginia in the first round.

This is what sports fans thrive for, and smaller schools live for.

What are the Odds?

When in doubt it’s typically best to go with the odds, such as historically 85% of number three seeds will make it to the second round. Although only 11% will make it to the Final Four.

The number 1 seeds have won the entire National Championship for more than 60% of the time. As the odds are in your favor to go with a higher seed, there will always be upsets, don’t let a UMBC team bust your bracket in the first round.

Virginia has the best odds to win the entire tournament at 16.6%, just ahead of Gonzaga at 13.9%. North Carolina is third highest at 8.9%, and the powerhouse of Duke has the fourth best odds with 8.2%. Rounding out the top five of favorites to win is Michigan State with a 7.9% chance.

My advice is to have some fun with it. Whether you’re throwing darts at a map, flipping a coin for each game, or choosing whichever mascot you like the best just know that the chances of you achieving a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion.

Who We Think Will Win?

Taylor Lee is a former Sports Editor at Grit Daily. With over ten years of experience in the business realm including an MBA from Grand Canyon University, Taylor focuses his writing in the fields of sports, music, and business. His other interest include being outdoors, cigars, and fine bourbons.

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