Another Exciting Year of March Madness

Another Exciting Year of March Madness

As this year’s March Madness rapidly comes to a close, we are always stuck wishing it was longer. This year of NCAA basketball has been nothing short of the exciting and nail-biting tournament-style basketball we all love. From one of the wildest final four standings to the traditional walk-off buzzer-beaters, fans of the sport this year did not disappoint. 

What would March Madness be without an underdog story? To kick the brackets off, we saw the second-ever 16th seed beat a number 1 seed in NCAA March Madness history. The elimination threw off the entire country and their fan’s brackets. Fairleigh Dickenson University took down the number one Perdue in a 63-58 thriller. 

Before the Friday night matchup, the Dickenson University coach would set the tone by stating, “The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them.” Nearly everyone shrugged off his high level of confidence. The high level of belief as a number 16 seed was unheard of. But as the night went on, he proved to back up his words in the most important way, with an upset win over the number-one seed on the national stage. 

Following the upset just days later, fans would witness this year’s first buzzer-beater game-winner. On March 17th, TCU would face the highly anticipated Arizona State. TCU’s battle to get themselves in a position to win was more challenging than fans expected. The horned frogs trailed Arizona State for nearly 25 minutes. 

Dragging themselves back in with a 13-2 run late in the game to catch up and put a 52-52 tied scoreboard. With high hopes, the horned frogs would have to continue and try to close out the game with their star guard limping off the court. When the game was on the line, tied at 70 JaKobe Coles drove from the top of the key to shoot a floating dagger into the hearts of Arizona State fans. Their win would move them into the next round against the highly-ranked Gonzaga. 

After the game, ASU head coach Bob Hurley would state, “​​I’m just heartbroken for these guys, giving me everything they had all year… It would take the last shot to put us away.” His respect and honor for his players goes without saying but leaving the tournament on a sour note never feels good. 

As fans’ brackets and bets end, whether it’s the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, or the Championship, all fans expect last-minute thriller games. Like time and time before, this year was nothing short of that. Throughout the tournament, Florida Atlantic University was an underdog despite whom they matched against. Yet, against all odds, the 9th seed made it to the final four. Their reward for getting so far was facing the San Diego Aztecs, who knocked off some of the highest seeds in the tournament on their chaotic path to the final four. 

Bringing all the stories of underdogs and last-minute shots into one at the final four positionings. In the tournament’s second-highest game, the game would commence and stay a constant battle with constant lead changes. Coming to the last ten seconds of the game, the SDSU coach decided not to take a timeout and let his players go to work. His decision was the game’s deciding factor, allowing Lamont Butler to hit a buzzer-beater mid-range to give SDSU a one-point victory and a trip to the National Championship.

As this year’s addition to March Madness comes to a close, all we can wish for is one last thrilling game. The stage is set for UCONN to face SDSU in the Championship. But as fans, all we can do is thank the coaches and players for yet another nail-biting season of college basketball.