Bobby Salembene said that he has never filled out an NCAA Tournament bracket because he never felt “knowledgeable” enough to do it but described this year’s tournament as a very open field that anybody could win.
“From what I’ve watched this year, there’s no clear-cut winner,” Salembene, 20, of Hagerstown said. “There’s big name teams that might not be the favorites.”
An upset-filled college basketball season, one in which The Associated Press No. 1 ranked team changed hands six times, will draw to an end with the tournament known affectionately as March Madness.
When the tournament ends on April 8, one of the 68 teams in the field will claim the national basketball championship.
Across the area, local residents had some ideas about which team would take all.
“Miami is looking good and so is Louisville, but I’d pick Louisville,” Rie Stevens, 36, of Hagerstown, said. “I caught a couple of their games, and they look good.”
Jerry Wagner, 52, of Hagerstown said that he thinks either Indiana or Gonzaga will win it all.
“They look like they’ve got a lot of bigger guys, a lot of talent, a lot of good shooters,” he said.
Tom Gorman of Hagerstown picked Duke to win it all but admitted that he is biased as a Blue Devils fan.
“They’ve got a fair chance but there are some other good schools like Louisville and Miami,” Gorman, 25, said.
Gorman’s brother, John, 20, also of Hagerstown, was picking Duke to win the national championship.
“Duke’s got a really good team, and (Ryan) Kelly is really good,” he said. “I like that Miami is actually good this year though.”
Louisville, Gonzaga and Indiana were the No. 1 regional seeds, and Miami and Duke were No. 2 seeds.
Miami split the regular-season series with Duke and won the ACC regular season and tournament championships.
Although Antonia Robles, 29, of Hagerstown, is a North Carolina Tar Heels fan, she said she thought Miami should have gotten a No. 1 seed.
Robles said that although she was pulling for the Tar Heels, who are a No. 8 seed, she was leaning toward picking Miami to win it all. However, she also said that there is no science to picking a bracket.
“That bracket that you do where you where you just don’t think about it, you just mark whatever, that’s the one that always turns out the best,” she said.
Diane Brittingham, of Hagerstown, said that the tournament is good for business for her, as a daytime bartender at The Greene Turtle.
“It’s fun, and I’d love to do a bracket because you can just pick which cities you like,” Brittingham, 56, said. “Sometimes you get lucky, and it’s fun because they hate you more when you don’t know what you’re talking about.”