Anticipation bubbles as UMBC’s basketball team gears up for March Madness. For those who have pulled off the nearly impossible feat of not hearing about it, last year UMBC’s 16 seed basketball team pulled off a miraculous victory against the number one seed University of Virginia.
Quite the miracle it was, and there was only one way to handle it — celebration. That is, there would have been dramatic festivities all around, if it were not for the fact that UMBC was closed for spring break. As such, it was a true UMBC celebration — everyone alone at home, watching TV and doing nothing of true substance.
Looking forward, we interviewed a few students to see how grossly inaccurate their perceptions were of the upcoming March Madness 2019. One student asserted the mistaken belief that, “anything can happen,” expressing an undue optimism for the basketball team’s chances of victory. Another student agreed with the optimism; however, he prefaced his positivity by saying that he “acknowledged that it was, at best, a severely misplaced hopefulness.” A final student, when queried about the intricacies of UMBC’s delicate positioning in the tournament, merely asked, “what’s March Madness?”
The players, meanwhile, have much less time to speculate, given how they are hard at work in their inevitable failure to live up to last year’s lofty height. Nonetheless, we asked to see if they held any hope in making distance in the tournament. The team replied with a resounding no. “Honestly,” said one of the players, “we still can’t believe it happened. We didn’t belong there, and everyone knew.” Even the custodial staff, he explained, was confounded by their presence.
A few of the players nodded their heads, one even saying, “if it weren’t for everyone and their cousin bringing it up every second last March, then I’d just think it was some fake news. There’s no way we were really that good.” They proceeded to explain how, rather than making themselves look good, their 2018 victory only put into question the competency of all of the collegiate teams.
Opinions aside, when one looks at the raw numbers of the game, their prospects still do not look promising. Using a sample size n=2, UMBC has proven itself most effective against the number one seed. Last year, the game to play against UVA was against the divisional number one seed, Vermont. Thus, if UMBC wants to have any hopes of pulling off a victory, they will need to only play against number one seeds.
Given that the chances of only playing against first seed teams is impossible, UMBC’s hopes of victory are looking even slimmer still. Nonetheless, they will certainly try, because as much of a letdown it is to lose, it is that much more so to not even try.