March Madness’s Sweet 16

Teams to watch out for in this year’s edition of March Madness

By: Nick LeBlanc and Alex Strang

Madness is in the air.  The sights and sounds of seasons being crushed, top seeds being overly confident in their ability to “win it all”, and lower seed hopefuls quickly ruining said hope is going to become all too familiar.

Before jumping into this year’s bracket, it’s important to first remember those whom have fallen in last years season of March Madness and learn from their mistakes.  In memoriam of No. 2 Michigan State, who lost in the first round to No. 15 Middle Tennessee; No. 4 California, who lost first round to No. 13 Hawaii; and No. 3 West Virginia, who lost to No. 14 Stephen F. Austin.  Bracketeers everywhere will never underestimate the power of an upset because of your mistakes.  Thank you.

“There will be more upsets this year than there has ever been before,” senior Brandon Wright said. “This year, there are no teams that are significantly better than others like there has been in the past with Duke or Kentucky.”

Jumping into this year’s bracket, here are some of the overly confident high seeds and hopeful low seeds to look out for.

Within the South region of the bracket, arguably the three top teams in the nation, No. 1 North Carolina; No. 2 Kentucky; and No. 3 UCLA, all have to fight for national championship glory within one region.  Having the most top heavy region shows as the top four seeds in the region all advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.  The only interesting upset came from No. 12 Middle Tennessee in the first round.  Other than that, expect either North Carolina, Kentucky, or UCLA to be representing the South region on April 1st in the Final Four.   

In terms of the south region, Sophomore Logan Eggleston thinks UCLA will come out on top: “UCLA is going all the way.”

On to the Midwest, the team to look out for is Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen.  They are red hot coming out of their conference championship victory and have something to prove as underdogs.  In terms of the Midwest No. 1 seed, Kansas, expect them to continue their trend of choking under the pressure of March Madness: they lose to Purdue in the Sweet 16.

“Michigan is hot right now, but not talented enough overall to win the whole thing,”  junior Janie Harshe, a Michigan fan, said.

In the West lies more uncertainty.  Teams like No. 12 Princeton and No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast had the potential to pull off their respective upsets against No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 3 Florida State, but fell short.  Now, after the round of 64, the only upset to take place in the West was No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland.  No. 1 Gonzaga, after coming off a 32-1 season, has the potential to not make the Final Four even after their tremendous season as the stout, No.4 West Virgina and No. 2 Arizona stands in their way.

After the defending champ, Villanova, was knocked out of the tournament by No. 8 Wisconsin, and No. 2 Duke was knocked out by No. 7 South Carolina, the East bracket is left wide open for the remaining teams participating in the Sweet Sixteen.  Expect No. 4 Florida to seize the opportunity and make it to the Final Four.

Before the tournament began, the Squall staff predicted Duke to be the winner of the biggest tournament of the year.  In a revised pick, the Squall is now taking Kansas to cut down the nets.  Personally, we believe UCLA will take home the trophy, but we also picked Michigan State to win it all last year, so take the advice with a grain of salt, because in reality, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball or getting struck by lightning than picking a perfect bracket, even from here on out.

Top Five Christmas Movies and Music

By Alex Strang and Nick LeBlanc

Right after Thanksgiving dinner is all cleaned up and you’re on the way to go Black Friday shopping, you start to hear songs that have become all too familiar: Christmas songs.  Without missing a beat, the Christmas tunes are released into the airwaves right as the conversation with Grandma on how you need a boyfriend/girlfriend has ended and you begin to leave your creepy Uncle’s house that you barely even know.

Every year, we listen to the same Christmas music and watch the same Christmas movies, but why do we listen to same songs and watch the same movies every December? Well it’s simple; they get us in the Christmas spirit. They make us want to down some eggnog, go spend an unnecessary amount of money on our family and friends, and go chop down a tree and haul it home. So, by the time December 25 rolls around, everyone is in the holly-jolly Christmas spirit.

As a staff, we have created a list of our favorite movies and songs.

Movies

5. A Christmas Story

Released over 30 years ago, A Christmas Story continues to be watched by millions of families each year. The movie follows Ralphie, a young boy who only wants one thing from Santa: A Red Ryder BB Gun. Despite everyone telling him “you’ll shoot your eye out,” he doesn’t give up hope. You will be able to find this on TV everyday in December on many channels.

4. Polar Express

Polar Express This is the most kid-friendly movie on the list. It is a Christmas fantasy where a train picks up children and takes them to the North Pole. Compared to the other movies on the list, this movie lacks the comedy.

3. Elf

Elf has been the most overplayed Christmas movie in the past decade as well as the most popular. As every teacher’s go-to Christmas movie, you might watch it five times the day before you go on Christmas Break. Popular comedian Will Ferrell plays a human elf that embarks on a journey from the North Pole in search of an important person in his life.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the funniest Christmas movie on our list. Chevy Chase plays Clark Griswold, the father of a dysfunctional family in this holiday season comedy. Although it is a family movie, we would not say it is family friendly. Despite only a PG-13 rating, this movie is full of crude humour and it may not be suitable for little cousin Jimmy, so parents and relatives alike make sure you have a blanket ready to cover the TV at various parts of the movie unless you want 20 questions afterwards.

1. Home Alone 1

Home Alone follows a boy’s adventures during the holiday season when his large family accidentally leaves without him when they go on vacation.  As an all-time Christmas favorite, this action-packed comedy does not disappoint. What makes this movie so great is that, when we were younger, we all had that fantasy of feeling all powerful, which is exactly how the protagonist, Kevin, acts.  Due to Kevin’s nature and our young age, Kevin was a Hero to us.  The combination of being a Christmas thriller and being filled with nostalgia means if you are going to watch one movie this December, make it Home Alone.

Music

5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé

This Bublé classic gets the listener hype about snow that is related to Christmas. The reason why this song is not higher on our list is because more often than not, the weather feels like Easter on Christmas; thus, the song is rather misleading.

4. Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys

Similar to the song in the five spot, “Little Saint Nick” is a Christmas classic.  However, this song also has a major downfall to it: Saint Nick is not little. While the song provides a good tune, as a staff it was difficult to rank this song higher due to the misinterpretation of the most important character related to the Christmas season.

3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Michael Bublé

Being one of the most iconic christmas songs means that it has been featured in hit Christmas movies like the Polar Express. The major downfall of the song is that it highlights the downfalls of a seemingly jolly holiday.  For example, the song says “he sees you when you’re sleeping.” While the staff recognizes that the fact that Santa stalks us in our sleep is a part of the holiday, we feel the negative, creepy aspects of the holiday could’ve been left out.  In addition, you shouldn’t need to threaten the kids within the song to get them to behave. If it is needed, maybe the kids need better parents.

2. A Wonderful Christmas Time by the Beatles

What happens when you mix one of the greatest bands of all time and one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States? A subpar album.  Nevertheless, within the album is a song that has been welcomed during the Christmas time from 95-year-old Grandma Gertrude to five-year-old little Timmy. The Beatles have managed to create a popular Christmas song that goes along with the sound of ‘70s that has actually lasted, which makes this song even better.

1. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

The Squall chose Mariah Carey’s song to take the number one spot because of the heavenly tune alongside the modern, pop style. While the old fashion songs are welcomed, having your ears blessed by Ms. Carey’s voice is a good shake up from the typical Christmas tune. We also feel that when she says “All I want for Christmas is you,” she is talking to the audience, and more specifically us.  The loving gesture that Mariah extended to us during the love-filled holiday is appreciated. As a staff, we would like to thank you Ms. Carey; we feel less lonely now.

Fall Sports Update

A quick overview of some of Dexter’s primary fall sports as the season winds down

By Nick LeBlanc and Alex Strang

Football

This season, the Dreads have shown improvement through six games.  What has been the constant downfall of the team is the lack of personnel, which has caused players to get tired as the games have progressed.  The Dreads still have a positive outlook despite the 0-6 record: “Every week before a game we try and put together quality practices,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “We had a good week of practice before Tecumseh and managed to get into the redzone four times in the first half.”

Soccer

The Boys Soccer team is a main contender for the SEC White division this year.  With a record of 14-4-1 (7-2 in conference play), the Dreads like their odds to compete in districts and beyond.  After defeating Chelsea 2-1, senior Austin Graham said, “I have confidence in my team this year. I think we can win states.”

Cross Country

The cross country team took 3rd in the most recent divisional meet and is looking to improve and win the the next one. “We are a very young team with a strong brotherhood,” senior Tyrus Wood said. “We are looking to bring home a big victory at the end of the season and do better than we did last year at the state meet in November.”

Volleyball

With only four seniors, the volleyball team is finding success with underclassmen stepping up to play big roles on the court. The Dreads (21-14) hope to end their season on a high note. “Our season is going a lot better than expected and I am excited to see how we do in districts later this season,” senior Captain Mary Gallagher said.

Field Hockey

The field hockey team is once again a state championship caliber team, with an undefeated 10-0-2 record. “Right now, we are tied for first in the division,” junior Marin Waddington said. “We hope to win the state championship.”

Tennis

So far this year, the Tennis team has been suffering from a lack of participants. Students who had never played competitive tennis were joining the team midseason.  Despite this, the team is still winning. “We placed second in the SEC’s and managed to overcome some challenges we faced during the season,” senior Brandon Wiegers said.