Middlebury Goes Mad for March Madness


A snapshot of Abraham Beningson’s NCAA March Madness winning bracket in the school-wide bracket challenge.

As you probably know, NCAA March Madness is officially over as Virginia beat Texas Tech 85-77 on Monday night. If you’re looking for a technical recap of the game, look elsewhere. We here on The Campus will leave the hard-hitting Division I reporting to the professionals because we know what our readers are really craving: the results of the 2019 MiddMadness school-wide bracket.

Coming in first with an incredibly strong showing was Abraham Beningson ’21, who will receive $150 in his declining balance. Beningson finished with 1710 points, a full 230 points ahead of the second place finisher. Beningson correctly predicted each team that made it to the Final Four and picked Virginia to win it all against Texas Tech, 67-61. He placed 164th overall among all NCAA March Madness brackets. When asked about his selection technique, Beningson said he did a little bit of research but mostly balanced realistic expectations with some personal bias. “I started out by picking a fair amount of upsets in the first round because those are fun to cheer for and fun to get right,” Beningson said. “These were generally due to a small amount of stat research: if the team had a good defense or shot a lot of 3s, I was inclined to pick them – or for bias, like with UVM. Ultimately though, I wanted to have a good chance at picking the winner because that’s worth the most points, so I went with Virginia. I couldn’t go with the complete fa- vorite in Duke because that would be boring.”

Last year, Beningson used the same strategy but placed in the middle of the college’s bracket, and he attributes this year’s success to chance. “There’s absolutely no question about
it: the only reason I did this well was by being totally lucky,” Beningson said. “The tournament is just so unpredictable that an infinite amount of knowledge about college basketball really isn’t that much better than no knowledge at all. I’m just concerned that I’ve used up all my good luck for the foreseeable future.”

Coming in 342nd place, in a tragic last place finish, was freshman Jake Gaughan. Despite following college basketball “fairly closely” throughout the year and doing “pretty average in his other brackets, Gaughan finished the MiddMadness bracket with only 210 points. Gaughan predicted Vermont would take it all the way, despite their first-round loss. He told The Campus, “I always pick the Catamounts. They have three brothers [Robin, Ernie and Everett Duncan] on the team, and if that isn’t enough to win a national championship, I don’t know what is.”

The Campus checked in with Ben Yamron, the bottom finisher in last year’s Roll Pants! bracket, to see how the sophomore fared this time around. This year, Yamron finished in 333rd place, nine places higher than last year, but said he used the same selection strategy. “It is just instinct, you know?” Yamron said. “You see two teams in the matchup, and a sign hits you and you just know. You gotta go with your gut. Last year, this worked out very poorly, but this year I improved, so if I keep going with the process and and keep my eye on the prize, by senior year I’ll have a bracket I can be proud of.”

By 2021, The Campus hopes to see Yamron crack the top 200.