The end of March is highly anticipated around the country, and Northwestern’s campus is often consumed by the madness, too. The men in North Suites gather to watch the basketball games that determine who will be the North Suites bracket champion.
Walk into the lounge in the suites, and you’ll see the “Tournament Central Mothership,” including four TVs — one for each March Madness network in the first few days of the tournament. The windows separating the lounge from the kitchen are filled with a massive dry-erase marker bracket that is updated to reflect the current standings.
Attendees can munch on food from the “Sodium Podium,” a table with snacks that dwindle quickly as roughly 20 students fill the lounge for the first few games of March Madness. Students continue to show up as the games progress, especially for the more highly-anticipated match-ups.
“This is an event that our guys look forward to each year,” said North Suites resident director Tyler Zeutenhorst. “It brings people together and encourages them to bond around moments of victory, defeat, excitement, shock and suspense.”
Because many regional teams often don’t make the tournament or lose in the first few rounds — for example, University of Minnesota, University of Iowa and Iowa State University, who all lost in the first or second round — residents often root for the teams they have advancing in their brackets.
“It also gives us all a chance to offer half-hearted allegiance to teams we know nothing about until three days before the tournament starts, and that’s just something I find fun,” said Zeutenhorst.
Caleb Badura is currently leading the North Suites bracket competition, with Austin Moss and Brice Enright three and four points behind, respectively. Badura has Michigan State winning it all and is hopeful that they can pull it off.
“I think they [Michigan State] will be on a roll after their win against Duke and that might be enough to go all the way,” said Badura.
North Suites is anticipating quite a few students to fill up the lounge this Saturday, April 6, for the Final Four games.
“My bracket is as busted as they come, but I’m still excited for the games and to build community with my North Suite brothers,” said North Suites resident assistant Dana Van Ostrand.
STUDENT WORKING AT FINAL FOUR
North Suites will be missing last year’s bracket challenge champion and one of its biggest basketball fans this weekend during the Final Four games. Junior sports management major, Bradley Laackmann, will not be in the North Suites lounge to watch the games.
Instead, he is going to be volunteering on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, at the Final Four Fan Fest in Minneapolis, alongside 2,000 other volunteers. As soon as he heard of the opportunity, Laackmann was determined to get a spot. He signed up online the moment it was available, while the other spots filled up in about four hours.
Laackmann will have a number of responsibilities, including checking waiver wristbands, supervising lines at Fan Fest events and answering questions that fans may have about the different Final Four activities.
He is excited to get more real world experience in sports management and knows this will be a great item to include in his resume.
While volunteering does not grant access to the games, Laackmann will have an opportunity to attend the teams’ open practices before the games start.
Laackmann is excited to go to these shoot-arounds and is looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere with so many college basketball fans in Minneapolis.