Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Faculty, students enter March Madness

Already in the sweet sixteen, teams from around Division 1 are looking for the championship title.

Every year before March Madness starts, countless people across the country fill out brackets with their guesses of who will win the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships. These are often played for fun, for sport or for a prize. Here at Augustana, the students and faculty too have March Madness traditions.
Possibly the most well known of all of these competitions is the one run by Augie IM. This is a yearly tradition that goes back at least 15 years. According to Director of Intramural and Recreational Sports Don Umland, it is mostly run by students but the scores are always tallied by staff of Augustana.
Every year, Augie IMs get around 150 brackets. Out of those brackets, they will have one female winner and one male winner. While it is still mostly males that participate, female students are still avid participants and often do extremely well.
The prizes for the winners are donated by local companies such as the Augustana Bookstore, HyVee and Buffalo Wild Wings.
One of the best parts of this event for Umland is its wide appeal to students.
“This is our chance for our students to show off their knowledge of basketball,” Umland said. “But even if somebody doesn’t have a lot of knowledge and just wants to pick for the fun of it, just for the mascots or pick because they think they name sounds cool. You can pick it in any way you want.”
Another perk of the March Madness bracket competition is its longevity. Nobody really gets out in the first week so the students continue to excitedly watch the games and get engrossed in the culture of the competition
“You can have a bad first day or a bad second day and still win the whole thing, especially if your final four are still alive,” Umland said. “We’ve seen people have a bad first weekend and a phenomenal second weekend.”
As great as the IM league March Madness competition is, it is only for students so professors have to find other ways to join in on the fun. Assistant Communications Professor Dr. Meg Kunde is one of these people who has participated in a March Madness bracket for years.
“For the last 15 years, I’ve been in a bracket competition organized by my friend from elementary school. There are about 75 people who participate in it,” Kunde said.
Kunde participates in thatbracket mostly for fun. However, she is much more competitive in a separate bracket she does with her husband. Kunde says the loser of their competition buys the winner dinner as a prize.
“The first two weekends of March Madness are like a holiday for my husband and I,” Kunde said. “We look forward to it all year. We spend the weekends flipping between the four TV channels that show the games, often having both of our computers on so we can watch three full games at once.”
No matter what your skill level is, March Madness is an opportunity to get involved both in Augustana and in the culture of sports in our country.
“It’s something that anybody can do, and that’s what makes it fun,” Umland said.

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Faculty, students enter March Madness