March Madness Celebrated Throughout Bridgewater

Bridgewater Comes Together For March Madness Through Reading, Science, and Basketball


Bridgewater College

Avid readers, animal lovers and basketball fans all have something to celebrate during the month of March at Bridgewater. Currently, at the midpoint in March, March Madness: Battle of the Books, March Mammal Madness and the NCAA Division 1 Basketball Tournament are well underway.

Hunter Aversa, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- At Bridgewater College, March is a time of community and competition as March Madness: Battle of the Books, March Mammal Madness and the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament roll around. 

March Madness: Battle of the Books

March Madness: Battle of the Books has entered its third year at Bridgewater College, taking the top 16 circulating items from 2022 in the library’s bestsellers collection and placing them head-to-head in matchups throughout March.

“This is the third year of our March Madness: Battle of the Books, and I’m happy to say that it has grown each year,” said Learning Services Librarian Taylor Baugher. “I’ve had students come to my office to tell me that they’re so excited to find out that we have certain titles in our collection that they didn’t know we owned, especially ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’ by Jennette McCurdy this year.”

Starting during the second year of March Madness: Battle of the Books, the implementation of Instagram stories to collect votes massively increased the popularity of the event.

“Awareness of the bestsellers collection is the biggest thing to come out of this, and we are always taking suggestions for additions to our bestsellers collection,” said Baugher.

March Madness: Battle of the Books is currently in the third round of the bracket, and voting is available on their website. Voters also have the opportunity to select books in the tournament to place on hold. 

March Mammal Madness

March Mammal Madness is an annual tournament of simulated combat encounters among animals that answers the question of “who would win?” 

The scientists researching the animals and encounters use scientific research and publications to substantiate the outcomes of the battles, arguing why each animal would win against their opponent.

There are a number of Bridgewater students involved in March Mammal Madness who are researching the different mammals, all classified under different divisions.

“I think I am going to keep doing it as long as I am here,” said sophomore Alison Nikols. “I would encourage other people to do it because I feel like it’s such a silly little thing. You can be very serious and do the science background research sort of thing but brackets are brackets and who doesn’t like them.”

The Mammal March Madness motto is “If you are learning, you’re winning!”

While it is too late to create a bracket for March 2023, updates, takeovers and tournament commentary are all available on Bridgewater’s March Mammal Madness Twitter

NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament

Although it is not a Bridgewater event, students around campus come together to enjoy the annual NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.

“Usually for March Madness, I would watch it with my dad,” said sophomore Elizabeth Melton. “Every year depends on what teams are playing, so if our team is in it, it is usually a bigger deal. We wear our team shirts and usually make snacks and schedule time to watch it.”

The 2023 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament is currently at the Sweet 16, and has been characterized by upsets and surprises. 

“This is one of the best times of the year because you get to fill out brackets and watch lots of basketball,” said junior Marshall Rhodes. “One of the best parts is watching a Cinderella team make a run or seeing big named schools get upset.”

On the men’s side, among these upsets include first-seed Purdue losing to the sixteenth-seed Fairleigh Dickinson University in round one, second-seed Arizona falling to fifteenth-seed Princeton in round one and eighth-seed Arkansas upsetting first-seed Kansas during the second. 

Closest to campus, fourth-seed University of Virginia was upset by thirteenth-seed Furman University during the first round. 

For the women’s tournament, twelfth-seed Florida Gulf Coast University upset fifth-seed Washington State during round one, along with another twelfth-seed, Toledo, beating fifth-seed Iowa State. The biggest upset yet has been first-seed Stanford falling to eighth-seed Ole Miss during round two. 

Representing Virginia, first-seed Virginia Tech has already claimed a spot in the women’s Sweet 16.

With no perfect brackets remaining among the millions, the championship matchups will be on April 3 for the men and April 2 for the women, each between the two teams who fight their way through the remaining Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four.