Sophomore seized by March Madness

March 20, 2009 — by Vijay Menon and Abhishek Venkatarama

For sophomore Robert Yu, the annual NCAA basketball tournament, known to many simply as March Madness, is more than a sporting event—it’s a cause for celebration.

“I love watching college basketball,” said Yu. “I watch the games all year just to see how it all breaks down in the tournament.”

Yu first got interested in college basketball at a young age when cousins watched UCLA games at family get-togethers. Since then Yu has come to become a die-hard UCLA Bruins fan. Every year, Yu invites friends and family over to cheer for the Bruins as they advance through the tournament.

“March is always a fun time for me, especially since the Bruins have made the final four three out of the last four years,” said Yu. “This year has been slightly disappointing, though, since they only got the sixth seed.”

In the tournament, Yu will be cheering on his favorite player, UCLA point guard Darren Collison.

Apart from rooting for UCLA, much of the excitement for Yu comes from filling out a tournament bracket with others and attempting to predict the outcome of the tournament.

“Every year my friends and I fill out our brackets in an online group,” said Yu. “It’s really fun trying to predict the upsets and trying to fill out the perfect bracket.”

This year, Yu’s pick to win it all is Louisville. The team went 16-2 in the season and is ranked first overall after recently winning the Big East tournament.

“I’m taking Louisville to win the title,” said Yu. “They’re a strong team and I picked them to go far in last year’s bracket and it paid off.”

Yu believes that Louisville’s strong defense, which is ranked as the second best defense in the league will help Louisville beat some of the tougher teams in the competition.

“They went 7-1 this season against the top 25 teams in the league mainly because they allow [their opponents to score] less 60 points a game,” said Yu. “If they keep up this performance they should be able to cruise to the Final Four.”

Even though Yu is betting on Louisville to win the championship, he is still rooting for his sentimental favorite, UCLA.

“In my heart I want the Bruins to win,” said Yu, “but I have to put my money on Louisville.”

Yu plans to host several viewing parties at his home over the course of the tournament, especially if UCLA advances far in the bracket.
“If UCLA wins it all,” said Yu, “it’s going to be crazy at my place.”

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