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Commentator Linnae Harper talks women’s basketball, building brackets and Caitlin mania

How to fill out your brackets

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Linnae Harper is a professional basketball player, a sports commentator, and founder of the non-profit “That Harper Kid.” She joined Daybreak’s Jeremy Jenkins on Tuesday to talk about building a March Madness bracket, the sport of women’s basketball, and rising star Caitlin Clark.

March Madness

Harper calls March Madness the last go-around for all the teams aiming to win an NCAA championship.

“With that being said, it’s the top 64 teams, they’re in four different regions and they have one shot to win. So if you win, you continue to play and if you lose, go home,” Harper said.

March Madness is a term used to describe the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held annually in the United States during March and April. A March Madness bracket refers to a prediction or betting game in which participants attempt to predict the outcome of each game in the tournament.

The tournament typically consists of 68 college basketball teams competing in a single-elimination format, where each team plays against another until one team emerges as the champion. The bracket is a visual representation of the tournament’s matchups, organized into a tree-like structure showing the path each team must take to advance through the rounds.

Participants in March Madness brackets often fill out their predictions before the tournament begins, attempting to accurately predict the winners of each game and ultimately the champion. These brackets are widely circulated and can be found in office pools, online competitions, and among friends and family. Participants may compete for prizes, bragging rights, or simply for the fun of it.

As the tournament progresses, participants track the results of their predictions and see how they stack up against others. The excitement of March Madness comes from the unpredictability of the games and the potential for upsets, which can dramatically impact the outcome of brackets and create suspense and excitement throughout the tournament.

“When it comes to that bracket, you have a season of one to 16. Those teams that would, that have a higher rank, um, their overall record and performance has been much better. And if you’re ranked a little lower, that means you have to play a little harder and play against some of the best teams in the country to win a championship.” said Harper

Harper says the key to a good bracket is looking at who has the top seeds in each region.

“For example, South Carolina has the number one seed, right? And so if you’re filling out your bracket, you wanna look at those teams. But then also, I’m a huge fan of underdogs and so sometimes you might want to put some underdogs in there to aim to get to a championship,” Harper said.

Caitlin Clark and Women’s Basketball

We previously reported on WISH-TV about Iowa women’s basketball sensation Caitlin Clark’s decision to head to the WNBA Draft at the end of her already historic senior season in Iowa City. She’s projected to be the No. 1 overall pick, the same pick that the Indiana Fever owned for the second straight year. This news has created ‘Caitlin-mania’ in the Circle City as we await to see if the superstar ends up in Indy.

Harper says she believes it will bring a fresh start to the sport. “She is the face of women’s basketball right now for college. I was looking at a video and the arena, the line was wrapped around the building to see her play and I think that’s something that she can bring to the WNBA marketing, more ticket sales, more eyes watching the game, more support and it’s gonna change the game forever,” Harper said.

According to NBA data, the 2023 WNBA Regular Season reached over 36 million unique viewers across all national networks, the highest since 2008 and up 27% from 2022.

“There’s nothing that we can’t do, you know, and right now was a pivotal time that we’re showing to the world, like, hey, we can charge X amount for tickets, we can pack out arenas and stadiums and still produce and be successful,” Harper said.