The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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A donation of $40 or more includes a subscription to the 2023-24 print issues of The Harbinger. We will mail a copy of our fall, winter, spring and graduation issues to the recipient of your choice. Your donation supports the student journalists of Algonquin Regional High School and allows our extracurricular publication to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

This year’s March Madness could be full of surprises 

Harbinger editor shares his bracket picks and predictions
Adrian Mathew

With March Madness 2024 right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to analyze this year’s tournament with factors such as player availability, potential ‘dark horse’ stories and bold upset predictions.

The UConn men’s basketball team had an exceptional 2023-24 season, underlining why they’re among the favorites to win the NCAA Division I tournament. Their performance was highlighted by a remarkable record of 31-3 overall, with an impressive 18-2 mark in the Big East, positioning them first in their conference and earning them a second-place ranking in the Associated Press (AP) Poll as of March 4.

The Iowa State Cyclones, boasting a commendable 24-7 overall performance and securing a second-place position in the Big 12, could challenge UConn’s dominance in the NCAA tournament. With a highly acclaimed recruiting class highlighted by Omaha Biliew’s high-energy play and Milan Momcilovic’s scoring ability, coupled with sophomore Tamin Lipsey who brings defensive prowess with record-breaking steals and assists, Iowa State presents a multifaceted threat. Strategic transfers under the guidance of Coach T.J. Otzelberger, who has already exceeded expectations with a surprise Sweet 16 run in his first season, positions them as a formidable contender. 

The narrative surrounding Kansas, which is currently the fourth seed in the Midwest, takes a notable turn with the upsetting news of star player Kevin McCuller Jr.’s absence from the lineup due to a bruised knee bone. McCuller Jr. led the Jayhawks in points, averaging 18.3 points per game. His injury introduces a considerable challenge for Kansas, potentially affecting their deep-run aspirations in the tournament. The loss of a key player often requires strategic adjustments and increased contributions from other team members, adding a layer of unpredictability to Kansas’s campaign.

Turning our attention to potential ‘dark horse’ or underdog teams capable of making unexpected deep runs, Creighton and Iowa State emerge as squads with intriguing prospects. Creighton, with its cohesive team play and tactical understanding, has the opportunity to upset the Midwest section. Iowa State, from the East section, could upset the favored UConn squad. If both teams go undefeated, they’re expected to face off in the Elite Eight. I predict that Iowa State will upset the current champions, UConn.

Considering these analyses, I believe this year’s Final Four will contain only a single #1 seed. In the East, I believe the Iowa State Cyclones will claim their spot over the UConn Huskies. Looking at the West bracket, the #1 North Carolina Tar Heels could breeze through their division, entering the Final Four and winning the tournament. In the South, I predict that Duke will upset #1 Houston, and take the division. And lastly, I believe Tennessee will come out on top in the Midwest.

The tournament, characterized by its blend of predictability and surprise, remains one of the most captivating events in collegiate athletics. The absence of pivotal players, the emergence of dark horses, and the thrill of potential upsets all contribute to the narrative of March Madness 2023, underscoring the event’s status as a showcase of talent, strategy, and the sheer unpredictability of sports.

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A donation of $40 or more includes a subscription to the 2023-24 print issues of The Harbinger. We will mail a copy of our fall, winter, spring and graduation issues to the recipient of your choice. Your donation supports the student journalists of Algonquin Regional High School and allows our extracurricular publication to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

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Adrian Mathew
Adrian Mathew, Marketing Manager
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