The Big Dance, the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four. This is March Madness.
Millions of Americans devote the whole month of March to basketball, and it is no different at Dixie State University.
Dixie Sun News polled 100 students and asked who they thought would be the national champions this year, and the University of Miami received the most votes with Duke and Gonzaga close behind.
All three teams have held the No.1 position in the rankings and have suffered losses to lower-ranking opponents.
However, students think Miami can put past games behind it and win.
“Miami has the ACC player of the year,” said Calee Drew, a junior English major from Las Vegas. “They are in the running to win.”
While Drew said Miami can win, many students feel Duke is the future champion.
“Duke has a good coach and is experienced when it comes to March Madness,” said Marquece Galway, a junior communication major from Los Angeles.
Duke has made 37 appearances in the Big Dance and is expected to make it far every year. Duke has a storied basketball program, and students said that is why the Blue Devils always do so well in the tournament.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been the head coach since 1980 and helped coach nine national players of the year.
Torrey Harkness, a junior communication major from Los Angeles, said Duke is so good because prospective players know how successful they have always been and want to play for an accomplished program.
“Players want to be a part of the team,” Harkness said. “It is a tradition at Duke.”
Another popular team this year among students is the Indiana Hoosiers; the team was ranked No. 1 during the season but suffered losses to unranked opponents, which dropped them from the top spot.
However, Nathan Porter, a junior communication major from Riverdale, said Indiana is the team that will win it all.
“They have been the most consistent out of everyone,” Porter said. “They don’t have many off nights.”
The current season has provided basketball fans with many upsets, and more are expected to happen during the tournament. With every first-ranked team suffering loses to lower-ranked opponents, the door for the championship is left wide open.
Galway said lower-ranked teams like Arizona could make it to the Final Four and upset some major players along the way.
“Arizona is a good team,” Galway said. “They are underrated.”
Galway said Arizona has a fast offense that will be able to keep up with any high-ranking opponent, and its defense can block shots under the rim.
No matter what team wins, students have strict traditions that must be kept during March Madness. Whether it is filling out six brackets or devoting a whole day to watching basketball, students stay true to the sport.
“My family fills out brackets and then we have a competition to see who had the most right,” Porter said.
Students are excited for the tournament and will have their eyes glued to the television to see who pulls out the victory.