Junior Carson McConnell is the winner of this year’s PA March Madness Bracket student division, and math teacher Nick Corbett won the teacher’s division. Both had Baylor and Gonzaga as their top two picks.
“I keep up a decent amount with college basketball throughout the year,” said Corbett. “I knew those were the consensus top two teams all year long. I got lucky that they made it all the way through the tournament and ended up being the final two.”
McConnell also ceded that there is a bit of luck in the process: “There is some degree of luck in choosing the winners. The best one can do is make educated guesses.” McConnell’s system of making educated guesses paid off.
According to Corbett, “it is more worthwhile to be able to get the last couple of rounds correct than some of the earlier rounds, so I was pretty much guessing throughout the first couple [of] round matchups. Once I got to the later rounds I really tried to focus on who I thought were [going to] be the final teams left so that I could separate myself that way from the rest of the entries.”
McConnell’s strategy was slightly different. “I chose teams based on a few factors,” McConnell said. “One, the team’s coach; two, the conference the team plays in; three, the team’s record; four, the seeding of the team in the tournament; and five, how well the team has played leading up to the tournament.”
Ultimately, both of their strategies paid off. Though McConnell had to make some sacrifices, it was ultimately worthwhile: “My favorite team is the North Carolina Tar Heels. Normally, I have a hard time picking against them, but I knew I had to this year to have a chance at winning.”