Go-to bracket strategies at FHC


As the Elite Eight approaches, students at FHC have differing opinions on how to fill out the best bracket. 

“I’ve always been one to fill out a lot of brackets,” senior Kyle Sapp said. “The more brackets you have, the better chance you have of having a good one.”

This year, Kyle has the Kansas Jayhawks making a national-championship run in nearly half of his brackets. His confidence in the Jayhawks lies in their ability to control the paint—a trait that can change the tide in any March Madness game. The final No. 1 seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament is still alive and well. In a tight matchup between the Big 12 and Big East champions on Friday, Kansas made enough plays down the stretch to defeat No. 4 seed Providence 66-61 in the Midwest Region Sweet 16 matchup. 

Kansas led by 13 points in the second half, 36-23, when the Jayhawks turned the ball over, allowing the Friars to go on a 21-8 run to tie the game at 44. With 48-47, the Friars took their first lead of the game.

However, the Jayhawks would respond, first with Jalen Wilson converting a and-one at the basket before Christian Braun drove to the basket and drained a floater off the glass. After forcing a turnover, David McCormack grabbed an errant shot and stuffed it in, allowing Kansas to win. The rest of the way, Providence couldn’t get back to within one possession.

Martin had another strong tournament performance, despite an off night at the free throw line, where he missed five of his 13 attempts. He came off the bench once more, this time scoring 23 points in 27 minutes and leading the Jayhawks in scoring for the third time in a row. Martin is now averaging 19.3 points per game and has 58 points in only 77 minutes of action. 

The Jayhawks needed it, especially with All-American Ochai Agbaji struggling. The Big 12 Player of the Year finished with five points on two-of-eight shooting, while Braun, Kansas’ second-leading scorer, finished with six points on two-of-six shooting.

“Kansas has always been a team to watch out for this season; they have a few guys that can create their own shot without any help, which helps in March,” Kyle said.

Another FHC student, Joe Seurynck, has the now-defeated Gonzaga Bulldogs. His strategy, which included only making two brackets, ended up not paying off as the Zags were taken down by the Arkansas Bulldogs 74-68. The betting favorite to win the whole dance was outmatched by a much more energetic Arkansas team. 

“I liked Gonzaga going into the tournament because I thought they had the best roster and had to get a championship sooner than later after being eliminated so many times,” Joe said. “Obviously, now I’m regretting my decision to pick them; so is everyone else, though.”

Gonzaga finishes the season with 28 wins and four losses in what was a dominant season for the WCC champions, but its flameout comes after a lackluster performance in the tournament. It started slowly against No. 16 seed Georgia State in the first round and again against No. 9 seed Memphis in the second round before turning it on in the second half to advance. Arkansas, on the other hand, had the goods to hold them off, taking the lead with 18:09 remaining in the second half and not relinquishing it.

All-SEC star JD Notae led the way for the Razorbacks with a team-high 21 points on 29 field goal attempts, which tied for the fourth-most in an NCAA Tournament game for a winning player since the 3-point era began. Trey Wade, Trey Wade’s backcourt mate, and Jaylin Williams, the big man, each contributed 15 points to the upset. It was the program’s second consecutive appearance in the Elite Eight after a 25-year absence, and it was their first NCAA Tournament victory over a No. 1 seed.

Gonzaga star Drew Timme again showed up to try and play the role of superhero, accounting for 25 points including 17 in the second half. However, co-star Chet Holmgren — the frontrunner to be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft — was unable to make a significant impact thanks to foul trouble that plagued him and might have ultimately submarined the Zags’ chances at advancing. Holmgren had zero points at halftime and finished with just 11 before fouling out after only 23 minutes of action. Gonzaga’s backcourt also struggled against Arkansas’ defense, with Andrew Nembhard going 2-of-11 shooting, Julian Strawther going 3-of-9 and Rasir Bolton going 3-of-10. 

For Kyle and Joe, and everyone else for that matter, this year’s NCAA tournament has been filled with bracket-busters like Saint Peters and Miami. No matter which strategy worked the best when it came to Kyle and Joe’s brackets, there’s no question that a perfect bracket should be viewed as a myth.

“Every year it feels like the tournament gets even crazier with upsets,” Kyle said. “Filling out multiple brackets and entering bracket contests is just a fun way of trying to guess right.”