March Madness – Beat the Pros


Zoe Arntsen and Daisy Ray

March Madness is the best time of the year for many sports fans.

But not for us. This was the first time we had ever filled out a bracket, but we were so confident that we decided to challenge Highland basketball players Matt Lambson and Maddie Dillon to see who could perform better at making predictions.

We were arrogant. We were prepared.

We were blown out.


For an idea of why things went so badly, here is a sampling of what we were thinking.


Zoe: When I started my bracket, the first thing I asked was if this was for football; obviously I knew I was going to beat the pros. My strategy was completely random, but I had a feeling it would pull through in the end. It did not.


Daisy: Being a Brit in America has always been a struggle. From accents to guns, American daily life and norms is completely foreign to me. I used to play basketball in middle school, so the rules of the game are not totally lost on me, however, March Madness is completely new territory. When I was handed my bracket, I had absolutely no idea what to do with it, or what any of the teams were. My method of picking winning teams was interesting, to say the least. That being the fact that I actually had no sane method whatsoever, I just picked whatever team I felt like at that moment.


Zoe: Since I don’t follow sports closely, a bit of research was required to measure up against Maddie and Matt. My extensive investigation consisted of putting the City of Boise in the search bar and reading the first sentence that came up. I learned about its progressive housing plans, thus meaning Boise was in line for a bit of good karma. Memphis only mentioned how “great” their city is. A bit conceded if you ask me. Memphis won. At least Boise has a great housing plan because that’s where they spent the rest of March.


But Boise was my champion. They lost in the first round. It was fun while it lasted.



Daisy: I decided that Gonzaga would win its first two games because Gonzaga sounds like Gorgonzola cheese. I found Colgate hilarious because it reminds me of the minty freshness of the toothpaste I use twice a day, so obviously, Colgate had to win its first game. When I was younger, UCLA and Notre Dame were my top college choices, so there’s no doubt that they should win their games.


Zoe: The second round proved to be a bigger challenge than the first, even though there were fewer colleges to choose between. I felt decently mild about all of them. Take LSU and Wisconsin for example. I have no idea what LSU even stands for, but is a really cool acronym and Wisconsin has cheese!! Difficult decision, but in the end I knew Wisconsin was winning that game. Cheese always wins… unfortunately, in all contexts. By the third round I was exhausted by my time consuming, complex analytical process. So I switched up my method to an equally reasonable way to determine the march madness monarch. I went with schools that would sound better as baby names.


This strategy definitely should have shortened the time I spent on each matchup; instead, I was playing out the lives of my future children and whether they would get more girls being named Kansas or named Providence. Reluctantly, I settled on Kansas, the nicknames available for Providence would only lead to homeschooling and I 100% couldn’t juggle that in this hypothetical future.


Daisy: Finally, the team that I chose to win was Arizona, for the stupidest reason ever. My AP World History teacher told us that he would give us all 10 points of extra credit if Arizona won, therefore, Arizona won first place on my bracket.


It came as no surprise to me that I did not win the bracket competition. In fact, I failed miserably. However, I had a surprising amount of luck for winging the entire thing. Matt Lambson won the bracket competition, and I am regretting my prior cockiness towards the competition. Now it is evident that Matt is the one who is going to be insufferably cocky.


Zoe: My bracket was shot first round. And Daisy’s bracket held up a bit longer. Obviously, both our strategies of complete insanity weren’t enough to beat the pros.

There’s always next year though.