The Beauty of March Madness

The Beauty of March Madness

An event that happens once every year, a chance to make history and shock the world. This is what all hungry 64 teams in the NCAA’s March Madness want to accomplish. Through March 14 to April 3 teams all across America compete for a chance to win the National Championship. Players with all types of different stories and backgrounds are ready to put it all on the line to give their families and schools glory and national recognition. 

No team is safe in March Madness. There are four regions that teams belong in and in those four regions are 16 teams. No matter what your seed is, your chance to win the championship is equal.

With every team having an equal amount of winning, there are some major upsets every year. This year the major upset was Fairleigh Dickinson Knights over the number one team in the East region, the Purdue Boilermakers.

The team no one knew existed, even the students, to one of the best basketball teams in the country, Fairleigh Dickinson. This is a common occurrence because the Princeton Tigers in the first round knocked out number two Arizona in the South bracket.

In both games talent wasn’t the issue, it was how much each team wanted to advance. In both instances it was a very close game, but the hard working team always prevailed.

In the round of 32, things were getting back to “normal.” In 11 games the higher seed won against the lower seed in hard fought games but the three games that the lower seeds won was a common occurrence. 

In the Marquette vs Michigan St. game and the Missouri vs Princeton game, both Marqutte and Michigan had a big lead early on. It was only later on into the game where the lower seeds started to rally back.

They did this by executing their offense into the holes of the higher teams defensive flaws. The Michigan and Princeton wins proved that there was a way to win against a higher seeded team. The Arkansas Razorbacks had a different strategy against the number one team in the west region and the reigning champion the Kansas Jayhawks.

During the game, the Razorbacks were able to contain the Jayhawks two stars, Grady Dick and Jalen Wilson, forcing the other Jayhawks players to make crucial shots. The Razorbacks also shot amazingly from the free throw line with 80%, while the Jayhawks had 72%. 

It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but in a game where the Jayhawks lost by one point, 71-72, those freebies were crucial.

 The Arkansas Razorbacks lost against the Uconn Huskies, but the Razorbacks, like many other teams, gradually exceeded expectations. 

This year’s Sweet 16 was practically historic. The second number one seed lost, and in the first time in nearly 45 years  that there was no number one seed advancing to the Elite eight. Both teams were heavy favorites to go to the championship. 

These teams were the Houston Cougars and The Alabama Crimson Tide.

 In the first game the Alabama Crimson Tide lost against the San Diego State Aztecs in orderly fashion. No matter how hard Alabama tired they were always trailing by two to four points and couldn’t seem to catch up with the Aztecs.

 An occurring problem with Alabama’s struggles was their star, Brandon Miller’s inefficiency.  Miller had 28 points throughout three games, and did not have any points in Alabama’s first matchup versus 16 seed, Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders. Alabama simply didn’t have enough offensive power to compete against the Aztecs. Therefore the Aztecs would advance to the Elite eight. 

In Houston’s case, they were completely outplayed by the Miami Hurricanes. Going into the tournament Miami was the fifth seed in the Midwest region.

This did not matter because Miami was able to beat the number one seed, the Houston cougars, 89-75, nearly double digits. If you look at the stats for the game, nearly everything is identical for both teams, except for the three point shooting of Houston.

 Houston shot 29% from three only making nine out of 31. While Miami shot 44% making 11 out of 26. This stat shows that Houtson had a lot of empty possessions. This means that they were just chunking up shots which led to zero points on that possession. And this is what led to the Miami Hurricanes advancing to the Elite eight. 

In the Elite eight there were only upsets. Every single lower seed won against the higher seed. Some games were more embarrassing than the others.

 The Gonzaga Bulldogs, a once dominant time, was obliterated  by the Uconn Huskies, 82-54. The Huskies did everything better than Gonzaga and would advance to the Final 4, in Houston with ease.

However, the Creighton Bluejays and the San Diego Aztecs went back and forth in a very controversial ending.  

With 0.8 second left in the game, one of the Aztecs, Darrion Tramell was fouled going up for the game winning shot.

 This call came with controversy because It did not seem like the Creighton player, Ryan Nembhard, even altered the Tramells  player’s shot. Even if Nembhard  never touched Tramell, by hand and the ball was moving, he would have 100% missed that shot and the game would go into overtime.

 But instead Tramell hit 1 of 2 free throws and the San Diego Aztecs would spoil the Creighton Bluejays, 57 to 56, and spoil their final 4 hopes.  

And in the last game of the Elite 8, The Texas Longhorns would go against the Miami Hurricanes. The Longhorns were heavy favorites to win it all, with half of their roster being seniors and way more experienced than Miami. 

The Longhorns were in control this entire game. Like the rest of the tournament the Longhorns dominated their opponent and, at one point in all the games had a lead by more than 10 points. 

Straight out the gate Miami went on a 9-2 run and were destroying the Longhorns in every aspect of the game. The Longhorns come back to life, and in the rest of the first half both teams were going back and forth 

In the beginning of the 2nd half the Longhorns had a lead of 11 points and were showing why they deserve to be in the Elite 8. It wasn’t until 3 minutes left in the game when Miami showed how bad they wanted to be in the Final 4. 

Miami and the Longhorns traded points for the reminder of the game. But the Miami Hurricanes were too much for the Texas Longhorns, and they would advance to the final 4.

The only teams remaining in the Final 4 were teams no one ever suspected to be there. The teams are the Uconn Huskies, Miami Hurricanes, San Diego Aztecs and Florida Atlantic University. Battling for the NCAA trophy and bringing Glory to there school.

The first game in the Final 4 featured the San Diego Aztecs and Florida Atlantic University. Both teams had a very similar play style. Both teams rarely ever shot threes, and when they did they didn’t go in. So this game was going to be very physical and extremely close. 

And close it was. The largest lead a team had was 3 points, and that lead would go back and forth until 5 minutes left in the first half when Alijah Martin hit an occasional three, that put Florida Atlantic up by 6. And they would keep this lead, and add some, even going up 11 with 38 seconds left to go. 

With Flordia Atlatic being up by 7 by half, the urgency for the Aztecs was real. If they didn’t step up their game, they would be home just like everyone else. The Aztecs just couldn’t get over the hump, at one point Florida Atlantic was up by 14.  It wasn’t like the Aztces couldn’t score, they couldn’t defend, and Florida Atlantic was putting up some unprecedented threes.

It wasn’t until 8 minutes left in the second half, when the Aztecs went on a 16-4 run, bringing the lead down to 4 points. Now the Aztecs woke up. A game that Florida Atlantic once controlled was slipping out of their hands, as like in the first half, the game was going back and forth. 

And then with 7 seconds left after the Aztecs got a crucial stop, trailing by one point of 70-71, The Aztces were rushing down the court to make a miracle happen. And with 3 seconds left Lamont Butler hit a jump shot off 1 leg to advance the Aztecs to the championship game in traditional March Madness fashion. 

The 2nd game of the night between the Uconn Huskies and the Miami Hurricanes wasn’t nearly as exciting as the first game. Uncon led the entire game. There wasn’t one time where the Miami Hurricanes had an edge against the Huskies, at one point they tied, but that’s it.  

The type of domination the Unconn huskies displayed this whole tournament was unheard of. In every game they played, they won by 10 or more points. The Unconn huskies would face the San Diego Aztecs in the championship game, and try to stick with their dominance. 

With both teams’ seasons on the line, each team would need to play their best in order to win, and take home the NCAA trophy. The Uconn Huskies did not play their best game, they actually played badly. They were leading the majority of the first half, but that was just because the Aztces couldn’t hit a shot. 

 The Huskies should’ve been leading by more than 20 at half, but instead they were up by 12. With an almost impossible task, The San Diego Aztecs had to chip at that lead on olay better.  And they just couldn’t. The 2022-2023 Uconn Huskies might be one of the greatest college basketball teams of all time. The Uconn Huskies would go on to win 76 to 59, and lead their school to their 5th National title, and continue their reign of dominance. 

With the 2022-2023 March Madness tournament being over,  and the Uconn Huskies winning it all in a dominating fashion. Each team showed why they deserved to be there, and how hard they worked to get there. The beauty of March Madness is, no matter what you have an equal opportunity to win it all just as much as the next person.