The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


East participation in March Madness

Sarah Begun (’26)
Student passionately watches the James Madison March Madness basketball game.

As the month of March progresses, many students at East start to get more and more excited for March Madness, the NCAA Division 1 basketball tournament. From watching games all day to making March Madness brackets, lots of students at East closely follow college basketball’s most-anticipated event of the year.

After the regular season of college basketball ends in March, the postseason starts with schools’ conference tournaments, where teams can clinch a bid to the all-important NCAA Tournament with a win in their conference tournament. While better schools can make it to the NCAA tournament without winning their conference tournament, many smaller schools must qualify for the NCAA tournament through their conference. Such a set-up leads to many chances for smaller schools to upset better, larger schools in the NCAA tournament, leading to the madness which the season gets its name from. The bracket for the tournament is decided on Selection Sunday, the Sunday before the tournament starts, where the top 68 teams in the country are chosen to compete and seeded 1 to 16 across four regions of the country. The tournament goes on for 3 weeks until one team is crowned champion.

A popular way for many fans to get involved in the tournament is to make a bracket. People making a bracket pick a winner of each game in the tournament and compete with friends or people all over the country for money or friendly competition to see who correctly predicts the most results. If you are not familiar with March Madness and think that picking a bracket well is easy, it is not. Even people who watch hours and hours of college basketball throughout the season have a very tough time picking correctly, with many brackets busted within the first few games. The closest a bracket has ever reportedly been to perfection was a man in 2019 who picked the first 49 games correctly before losing, not making it all the way to the 67th and final game, a testament to how tough picking the bracket correctly is.

Many college basketball fans most look forward to the first round of the tournament, which always takes place on a Thursday and Friday. On these days, starting at noon and going until midnight, there are always four games going on, with fans on the edge of their seats waiting to see what large upsets will happen. With these being the days where games take place in the afternoon of a school day, there is always a buzz at Cherry Hill East about the tournament then.
With streaming sports games on mobile devices and laptops being easier than ever, many avid fans at East can watch games on their devices without their teachers even knowing, leading many to be distracted in class and being unproductive in getting done their assigned schoolwork. Instead of having administration crack down on the problem, which many students would inevitably work around, some students at East have suggested alternatives that can be beneficial to both students and the school.

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Josh Perr (‘24) said, “March Madness is very distracting for me during school. It is a large part of my social life during that time of year. I think the school could try to promote a watch party for March Madness for people who have study halls or P.E. which could raise school spirit. People are going to watch the games anyway, so why not promote it as a school event on those days.”
Other potential ideas include having the mental wellness half-day on the Friday of the first round of the NCAA tournament or having a school pep rally to get people excited, with many finding March Madness as a break from the stress of their long day-to-day routines.

Another effect of March Madness on East students is college decisions. Jared Miller (‘25), an ardent college basketball fan, said “I want to go to a school with a good college basketball team as I feel that the team being good will make my experience at college more enjoyable. I’m looking for my future college now, and March Madness only brings me closer to my potential landing spot.”

Perr also says that he sees many students choosing where they want to apply for college based on March Madness.

“Before last year’s tournament, when Fairleigh Dickinson upset Purdue, I had barely ever seen people go to that school. But now, I hear about tons of people wanting to go there. The tournament really brings kids awareness to schools they haven’t heard of, especially people wanting to go to smaller schools,” said Perr.

As the tournament gets closer and closer, many students at East are very excited, already looking at who they want to pick in their brackets to go all the way to the Final Four. As seniors are beginning to hear back and commit to college, many seniors are excited to go crazy over their school’s college basketball team during March Madness, along with students across all grades at Cherry Hill High School East.

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