Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 16, 2009

Catholic College Bracketology


Here's an annual breakdown of the NCAA men's basketball tournament with a focus on Catholic colleges that have been selected. Amidst the filling out of brackets, use the opportunity to share some information on the particular Catholic colleges, their charisms, founders, and missions. Encourage your students to consider attending a Catholic college.

Of the sixty-five entries beginning the tournament, seven were Catholic colleges. This is down from nine Catholic colleges in 2008 and eleven participants in 2007. To begin, ask your students to circle the Catholic colleges on a bracket sheet. The teams are:

Midwest Region
Siena
Dayton
Boston College

West Region
Marquette

East Region
Xavier
Villanova

South Region
Gonzaga



Ask the students to rate the Catholic teams (based on seedings). It might look something like this:

1. Villanova (3)
2. Gonzaga/Xavier (4)
4. Marquette (6)
5. Boston College (7)
6. Siena (9)
7. Dayton (11)

Also, hand out a blank map of the United States. See how many students can correctly place the Catholic college in the correct location by state.

Pennsylvania
Villanova

Washington
Gonzaga

Ohio
Xavier
Dayton

Wisconsin
Marquette

Massachusetts
Boston College

New York
Siena

And, don't forget to ask some questions pertinent to the colleges. For example:

1. Which colleges are founded by the Jesuits? (Gonzaga, Xavier, Marquette, Boston College)
2. Which colleges are named for saints? (St. Aloysisus Gonzaga, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis Xavier).
3. Which school originally had the nickname the "Fighting Irish"? (Gonzaga)
4. Which school was founded by the Friars of the Order of St. Augustine? (Villanova)
5. Which college is named after an explorer? (Marquette for Father Jacques Marquette (1637-1675), a French, Jesuit missionary and explorer in North America).
6. Which college was originally named St. Mary's College for Boys? (Dayton)

If you have additional questions, activities, or games connected with "March Madness" share them with your fellow teachers in the comments section below. Also, you can conduct similar lessons with the NCAA Women's basketball bracket that will be released on Monday evening.

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