People across America are gearing up for one of the most competitive events of the season – the NCAA Men’s Tournament. For three weeks college alums across the country will be talking smack, keeping an eye on the latest upset and cheering for this year’s Cinderella team. And on that final Monday night, like every year before, the winner will be crowned and “One Shining Moment,” a song synonymous with the NCAA tournament, will be played yet again.
Growing up in a basketball fanatic family and watching both the men’s and women’s basketball teams win national titles my freshman year at UConn, I have extremely fond memories of March. Quite frankly it’s one of my favorite times of year. But entering into a career in PR I quickly realized in this female dominated industry, not all of my peers shared my enthusiasm for the sport.
But lucky for me there are a few other SHIFTers who share my love of the game and have their own predictions for the coming weeks.
“I love March Madness and it’s probably the only time I become fully invested in watching/tracking a sporting event all year,” said Sarah Bergeron from SHIFT’s Boston office. “My prediction is that UConn or Duke will win…or a team with blue as one of their school colors.”
One of the many Boston University grads in the SHIFT Boston office, Erin Albright, said last week that she would love to see her Terriers make an appearance. And after winning its conference tournament this weekend, the team made it to the big dance and will be playing No. 1 Kansas on Friday. But according to Albright, “… this year my money is on St. John’s, even though I usually go for the underdog, my Dad is a HUGE St. John’s fan, so I think I’m going to jump on that bandwagon.”
Representing the San Francisco office, fellow Big East fan and Syracuse alum, John Cassillo wears his orange proudly and even has his team in the Final Four.
“For the NCAAs, I feel like this year’s a bit of a crapshoot. Every team near the top has proven themselves beatable at one point or another, but I’ve narrowed the possible champs down to 10 or 12 schools. If I had to choose right now, without brackets being finalized, I’d go with UNC, Kansas, Pitt and to tout my own team – Syracuse. Something tells me Pitt takes home the title this year though. As far as the other big contenders: Duke and OSU have shown themselves to be ineffective at times, while San Diego State hasn’t beaten anyone of significance in months.”
In SHIFT’s New York City office, Justine Massiello is just excited for the brackets. “I love it. Everyone has their own strategy. And for those who are like me, who know nothing about the season until the sweet sixteen, it’s fun to see how all your random predictions come together.”
Boston’s Mike Fearon doesn’t have an alma mater to cheer for in the tourney, but he does recommend watching recent college hoops documentaries to get you in the mood for madness. “When I was a kid, I loved UNLV and Michigan’s Fab Five. Since broadcast giants like HBO and ESPN understand that I have my finger on the pulse of American culture, they must have channeled me when deciding to air ‘Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV’ and ‘The Fab Five’ last weekend. These teams were larger than life, changed college basketball and are probably the reason why I wear long shorts and talk so much trash during SHIFT softball games. Give them a watch and make your Grandmama proud.”
As for me, I’ll be rooting for Kemba Walker and the UConn Huskies after watching them capture the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden last Saturday night.