One for the books: 2018 Hullabaloo NCAA bracket busted in first round

The Hullabaloo Sports section bracket did not fare well in this 2018 March Madness Tournament. Thanks to dear friends at the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, the Final Four had only one correctly-picked team.

That blessed team, the Villanova University Wildcats, was one of the few saving graces of this tournament. Villanova was predictably stellar, having routed its way to victory in the National Championship game.

Other successful teams in this tournament were not so predictable. With the help of prayers and well wishes from beloved Loyola University Chicago chaplain and superfan Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the Ramblers managed a Cinderella run all the way to the final minutes of its Final Four matchup with the University of Michigan. Thanks to the Wolverines, this inspiring team was unable to compete in the National Championship.

While the Ramblers destroyed nearly all brackets with their magical Final Four run, the Virginia Cavaliers were by far the most notorious bracket-busters this year. The Cavaliers were the nation’s top-ranked team going into the tournament and second-most picked bracket champion. Thus, The Hullabaloo felt safe in picking this highly-regarded team to win the entire tournament.

This was not the smart choice.

Virginia ended up falling in a first round matchup with the 16thseeded University of Maryland Baltimore County. The 16th-seeded Retrievers not only defeated the Cavaliers, they absolutely annihilated them by a margin of 20 points. A 16-seed has never before defeated a one-seed in the tournament.

This section’s struggles did not end there. While the North Carolina Tar Heels were able to slide into the second round, the team, seeking to defend its 2017 title, ultimately fell by a 21-point margin to Texas A&M University. This early defeat gave the Michigan Wolverines a much easier path to tournament success, ultimately culminating in their unforeseen championship berth.

The other popular pick of Duke earning a Final Four appearance was ultimately off, though not by much. The Blue Devils barely fell to the University of Kansas Jayhawks in a thrilling overtime Elite Eight matchup. Both teams, following this performance, were arguably well deserving of a Final Four appearance, busting fewer brackets.

All in all, however, the section editors were utterly decimated by the conclusion of the second round. At that time, two of our Final Four picks were already upset, including the projected champion Virginia Cavaliers. At this point, The Hullabaloo’s only comfort is this reminder: there’s always next year.

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