The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Bracket busters: Expanded field sparks enthusiasm across the court

Iowa+Hawkeyes+Women%E2%80%99s+team+sells+out+ahead+of+March+Madness+matchup.%0A%0APhoto+Credit%3A+Hayden+Thoms
Iowa Hawkeyes Women’s team sells out ahead of March Madness matchup. Photo Credit: Hayden Thoms

March Madness’s unique playoff format provides arguably the most competitive and popular post season in all of sports.

Eligibility and seeding of the March Madness bracket is accredited by a selection committee. Winners of the 32 respective conferences are guaranteed a chance to compete; however, remaining schools are selected by examining factors such as record, strength of schedule and injuries.

This single elimination expanded bracket play allows for open competition between large public schools actively recruiting the best high school prospects, and small private schools looking to make a historic run.

Sports fans are never shy to embrace the idea of more teams being provided a chance to win it all. Avid basketball fan Matthew Pischke sees this as the reason college basketball trumps other sports. 

“I certainly think upsets and unpredictability make March Madness more fun to watch. That’s the whole nature of the tournament. Anything can happen. I’ve always liked an underdog story so when you see a mid-major school go far in the tournament it’s exciting,” he said.

It’s easy to compare March Madness to the college football playoffs (CFP). Selection committees are used in both instances, but March Madness allows for 68 teams as opposed to four.

This puts less pressure on the committee, with fans understanding there are not 68 teams that could realistically make a title run. Controversy was sparked, however, in the 2023 college football season when Florida State University (FSU) went 13-0, yet failed to make the playoffs due to an injury to their quarterback.

Pischke believes the committee failed FSU by not providing them a playoff spot. “The CFP playoff committee and CFP itself are becoming a joke. When a Power 5 team wins every game in front of them and wins their conference and they get dropped from the playoff it’s just embarrassing for the committee,” he stated.

Football is regarded as much more dangerous than basketball, making it plausible the CFP selection committee is trying to protect players from injuries. Fans however, are more strongly drawn to March Madness because it allows more teams, increasing the overall viewership.

CFP are expected to expand to a 12 team format for the 2024-25 season, taking a step in what many consider the right direction.

Life time Iowa Hawkeye fan Evan Noack is looking forward to this change. “With the amount of upsets happening, March Madness is the best playoff system. An expanded CFP means more of the same which is what fans want,” he stated.

With no perfect remaining brackets, fans anxiously await a March Madness championship game which may very well include a Cinderella team.

 

 

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About the Contributor
Spencer Johnson, Sports Editor, Student Life Editor
Spencer Johnson is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as the Sports and Student Life Editor for the Spartan Shield. He enjoys math and economics classes, and plans on majoring in Business Economics next fall at Iowa State University. Spencer plays trumpet for both PVHS and his Church, St. John Vianney. In his free time, he loves watching sports, movies and hanging out with his friends. Spencer is also an Eagle Scout who enjoys camping and being outdoors. He is very excited to finish out his senior year and write with the journalism team!

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