The Madness Returns

March Madness Tournament is Back After a Year Hiatus

Jonathan Liu, Reporter

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken over the world for almost a whole year now and one of the first events cancelled by the pandemic was the yearly March Madness College Basketball tournament. 

The tournament that is loved by fans is coming back this year and fans hope to see an exciting comeback.

Fans are hoping for some unexpected outcomes with players making names for themselves and raising their stock.“Cinderella” teams making deep runs into the tournament and raising eyebrows is a must see. 

The games in this year’s tournament will all be played in Indiana to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

 They will be played in Mackey Arena, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, and Lucas Oil Stadium. 

Players have been producing negative COVID tests throughout the year and will most likely have to go through the same protocols to make this event successful despite the circumstances. 

“I’m very excited yet hesitant about this year’s March Madness. I’ve always loved watching the competitiveness of the teams in the tournament and watching some of my favorite college basketball players go head-to- head,” said junior David Maemoto. 

I hope that the tournament can make it all the way to the championship, but I feel that restrictions and strict rules need to be in place to best avoid any difficulties regarding Corona,” he continued. 

A big part of this tournament is the fan aspect of this as they cheer hard for their team no matter how well-known or not well-known their school is. 

The “IndyStar” twitter account ran a poll about how fans would feel about attending the games. 

Around 1,500 twitter users responded to this poll with 48% of the fans saying that they would feel absolutely safe attending. 

29% of the responders said it would depend on the rules and number of fans allowed, and the remaining 23% said they wouldn’t even consider it.

 The NCAA has released that they will be allowing a limited amount of fans though for this year’s tournament. The exact number is still to be decided but it is looking like a 25% capacity in the arenas would be the max. 

This year’s tournament will include many new teams and exclude teams that many fans have seen before. Blue Blood schools such as Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky will most likely not be making the tournament because of their poor record which has been a rarity in the last 20 years.

Duke Freshman Jalen Johnson who was ranked 13th in the country before entering college opted out of the season making Duke’s path to a National Championship even tougher than it has already been.  

Schools on the come up such as Gonzaga, Ohio State, and Baylor have looked dominant so far in the year. USC is back on track as they have star forwards with the Mobley brothers, Evan and Isaiah Mobley leading the way. 

UCLA is also looking to be a sure lock into the tournament as they are led by three guards, Johnny Juzang and Chris Smith who both average over 12 points per game, with Juzang at 14. The third guard, Tyler Cambell is the do-it all guard with 11 points per game, but also with five assists per game. 

This year in the tournament there are a couple stand-out players that could go into the lottery of the 2021 NBA Draft. 

Cade Cunningham out of Oklahoma State is looking like the clear frontrunner to be the number one pick in the draft at the moment. The 6’8 guard is averaging around 18 points per game along with six rebounds and three and a half assists. He single handedly has propelled Oklahoma State into a must-watch team because of his play. 

Another star player that will be in the tournament is Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. The 6’4 guard is averaging 14 points with five rebounds and four assists, guiding Gonzaga to one of the best records in College Basketball. 

As the tournament is upon us, we hope it runs smoothly as we watch the best college programs go at it for the national title.