After 2 weeks of continuous stress and spontaneous meltdowns, the Final Four has been officially determined as the following teams still remain: Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina. According to the ESPN tournament challenge numbers, approximately 0.003% of submitted brackets correctly picked the final four.
However, if you look really close at the remaining teams, a pattern emerges. This pattern is within the every tournament outcome to this day in such a simple way that no one would ever think of it. Here it is…
The pattern is that there’s absolutely no pattern to the tournament.
Yes, it’s that simple. If you believe that you are now a bracket master for picking 2 or 3 of the final four correct, think again. If you didn’t pick any right, it’s not your fault. That’s because there could have easily been four different teams still remaining.
In the west region, Gonzaga lucked out more than once. When playing Northwestern in the round of 32, Gonzaga big man Zach Collins clearly goaltended, yet the refs failed to see it. This not only prevented Northwestern from cutting their deficit to only 3 (they were down 20+ earlier), but it also triggered a momentum-shifting technical foul on Northwestern coach Chris Collins.
In addition, with little time remaining in Gonzaga’s sweet 16 match, West Virginia guard Daxter Miles Jr. missed both of his free throws, which could’ve potentially sealed the game as a W for WV. Instead, Gonzaga hit a few big threes to pull ahead and advance to the elite 8.
In the Midwest Region, Oregon faced a few scares. Round of 32 opponent Rhode Island had a double digit lead over them for a solid portion of the game. This lead had vanished thanks to Tyler Dorsey’s two clutch 3 pointers in the final seconds.
In the next round, Oregon had a 2 point lead over Michigan with the clock ticking down. Michigan’s star guard Derrick Walton Jr. pulled up for a game winning 3-pointer, but it fell short as the buzzer sounded. If the ball landed a few inches farther, Michigan would’ve advanced to the elite 8 instead.
In the south region, North Carolina had to overcome a few shooting droughts to move on. Arkansas had a 5 point lead on them with only 3 minutes remaining in their round of 32 game. Luckily, North Carolina ended on a 12-0 run to move on to the sweet 16.
In the elite 8 matchup vs. Kentucky, it came down to a North Carolina buzzer beater. That’s how close it was the whole game. If Luke Maye hadn’t nailed the shot as time expired, who knows who would’ve won in overtime.
In the East region, South Carolina shocked the world with their outstanding defense and shooting. I quickly eliminated South Carolina from my bracket after watching them miss shot after shot for a straight minute. However, against all odds, they found their shot, and beat Marquette, Duke, Baylor, and Florida to reach the final four. This was actually the most deserving team to be in the final four.
My point is that any of these teams had multiple chances to be eliminated. There was just no logical way to predict the final four. If a few shots resulted differently, we could be looking at a completely different final four—that’s how close this tournament was.
If you picked correctly, congratulations, but that doesn’t mean you know any more than anyone else. If your bracket is busted, don’t be hard on yourself because it’s not your fault. A lot of the tournament is just pure luck— some years you succeed, and in others you don’t.
All in all, that’s what makes the tournament so special
Featured photo by MADDIE MEYER/GETTY IMAGES