Autostraddle March Madness 2024: ‘The Kids Are Alright’ Final Four

Header: The 6th Annual Autostraddle March Madness 2024

Follow our March Madness content all tournament long and don’t forget to vote for your favs!

Usually, this is the portion of our March Madness posts when I talk a little basketball as a way to connect this contest with the tournament that inspired it. Normally, it’s great… there’s nothing I enjoy more than geeking out about basketball and y’all have been kind enough to indulge me over the last six years. But this year, I’ve run into a “problem:” both my teams — the NC State men’s and women’s basketball teams — are playing in their respective Final Fours. I’m not sure how to provide any thoughtful, insightful commentary when, in my head, I’m just running around like Kevin McAllister in Home Alone, teeming with excitement.

Kevin screaming in the film Home Alone

So, if you’ll forgive me just this once, I want to take the day off from talking too much basketball. I want to revel in the success of my alma mater’s teams and just appreciate it as a fan. I’ll save the basketball talk for another day.

Instead, let’s take a moment and talk about our bracket predictions contest where my fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

You’ll recall that after the Round of 32, I was elated; I’d found myself in first place among all the prognosticators. Then, after the Sweet 16, I lost one of my Final Four picks but I was still in good shape, atop the leaderboard. But then came the Elite 8: your votes in that round eliminate two more of my Final Four picks and sent me falling down the leaderboard. Somehow, Autostraddle’s editor-in-chief, Carmen, hasn’t noticed that she’s now beating me in both our Autostraddle March Madness and NCAA bracket competitions… if she had, I’m sure she would’ve boasted about it by now.

Hats off to the owners of the “Caity’s Picks” and “This Makes Me Feel Old” brackets. They were the only participants to correctly predict the Final Four. Speaking of which….

Brainiacs vs. Jocks

AMM 2024 - Brianiacs vs. Jocks - Willow Rosenberg vs. Vanessa "Van" Palmer

#3. Willow Rosenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. #4. Vanessa “Van” Palmer, Yellowjackets

After how ridiculously close some of those Sweet 16 contests were, I expected the Elite 8 to be just as hotly contested but, ultimately, they were not. We saw the largest voter turnout of this year’s March Madness in the Elite 8 round of voting and y’all delivered decisive wins across the board. How decisive were the wins? Well, the closest match-up of the round was in the Brainiacs region and yet Willow Rosenberg still beat Elena Alvarez by several hundred votes. According to the Challonge data, of those who anticipated this match-up, 63% of the predictions favored Willow Rosenberg.

After only narrowly escaping her fourth round match-up with Casey Gardner — just 10 votes! — Vanessa “Van” Palmer trounced Emily Fields in the Elite 8 voting. Again, y’all predicted that too: of the those who anticipated Van meeting Emily in the regional finals, 85% of predictions favored Vanessa “Van” Palmer.

That’s sets up an incredible match between Willow and Van in the semi-finals and, honestly, I don’t know which way it’s going to go. If you’re looking for an NCAA corollary, Willow/Van is akin to the UCONN-Iowa match-up. On one side, the wily veteran and perennial favorite, on the other, a relative newcomer with just two seasons of playing at this level. Who gets your vote the veteran or the newcomer?

Rebels vs. Thesbians

AMM 2024: Rebels vs. Thesbians - Ellie Williams vs. Santana Lopez

#3. Ellie Williams, The Last of Us vs. #1. Santana Lopez, Glee

Can anyone stop Santana Lopez? That is the real question on this side of the bracket. Because even her wife, Brittany S. Pierce, couldn’t do it. The Thesbians regional final wasn’t even a competition; Santana vs. Brittany produced the most lopsided result of the Elite 8, roughly 81%-19%. That’s fairly consistent with the Challonge data, wherein 97% of the people who anticipated the contest between the former Glee clubbers thought Santana would win.

She’ll meet a newcomer to the March Madness competition, Ellie Williams, in the Final Four. Ellie’s hand an incredible run in this tournament and, after upsetting Tara Maclay in the Elite 8, I’m certainly not willing to count her out in this match-up. The NCAA corollary works for the match-up too: Santana is South Carolina, the most dominant team in the field all year. No newcomer to this contest, but not nearly as experienced as Willow/UCONN. On the other side, Ellie Williams is NC State: the highly resourceful #3 seed that few people believed would get here, who are carrying on the legacy of their lost loved one. Who wins your vote here: the anticipated or the unexpected?

Alright, that’s enough from me, now it’s time for you to go to work. As usual, you have 48 hours to cast your ballot in these Final Four match-ups. Remember, you can vote four times over the voting period (or to be more exact once, every 12 hours) so take advantage of every opportunity to vote for your fave. We’ll be back on Monday — after I have sufficiently recovered from the women’s Final Four, I hope — to announce which characters have advanced to our championship round.

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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 401 articles for us.


  1. “idk who so many of these people are wow” – me too!!! only when I did the bracket tho
    Cuz after autostraddle posted the actual tournament and included the pictures , I was more ‘I know these people! I love most of these characters ‘ facepalm
    I predicted defeat for some of my favs because I didn’t recognise their full names. I’m so sorry Ellie Williams – I’m voting for you now

    • I absolutely had this problem! In retrospect I should have taken the time to look up more names–even just knowing what show they were from would have helped! Oh well…

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