Jesuit students participate in the competition to create a perfect March Madness bracket

Every year during the month of March and going into April, millions of people in the United States tune into the NCAA March Madness tournament, a single-elimination tournament that includes 68 Division I college basketball programs. 

Along with watching all the games and the madness that ensues, millions of people also create brackets, making their picks for which team they think will win each game of the tournament. Since the first NCAA Division I men’s tournament in 1939, there has yet to be a documented perfect bracket.

At Jesuit High School Sacramento, March Madness is a time for students to take their crack at creating a perfect bracket, or as close to perfection as possible, and compete against one another to see who can fill out the most accurate bracket. 

The winner of last month’s March Madness bracket challenge at Jesuit was Ian Turner ’21, whose bracket finished in the 98th percentile of all brackets created nationwide. Moreover, Ian was one of only three students who entered Jesuit’s challenge that correctly picked Baylor as the winner of the tournament.

While filling out an accurate bracket takes a lot of luck, Ian says that there was a method for how he made his selections.

“So I did a little bit of research to try to find some hints at possible upsets,” Ian said. “But I didn’t try to pick too many upsets because you simply have to accept that your bracket won’t be perfect. I decided to choose Baylor for a couple of reasons — I knew everyone was going to pick Gonzaga, so by picking Baylor, I was able to win the pool not by having the prettiest bracket, but by balancing the strength of the team with how many people would choose them. I used Game Theory, trying to anticipate other people’s moves, which made my decision easier. And also, Baylor has the best defense in the nation, and when the shots aren’t falling [in] you can always count on defense.”

One student whose bracket didn’t do as well is Hunter Cameron ’21. Hunter’s bracket was ruined by the historically high amount of upsets during this year’s tournament, including a first-round upset of 15-seed Oral Roberts defeating 2-seed Ohio State.

“Since Jesuit’s competition was based on whoever’s bracket was most accurate, I decided to choose the safe route,” Hunter said. “I chose the higher seeds for the most part with minimal upsets and I had Gonzaga winning the championship. I ended up doing poorly because I had made multiple brackets before my Jesuit one, and I randomly chose Ohio state making it to the championship game.”

With this year’s tournament over, many will be looking forward to next year’s tournament to tune into the madness, and Jesuit students will have their crack at bracket glory once again.