College basketball in March can be one of the most fun times of year (for those who pick an accurate bracket). The hype of picking teams round by round to compete against your friends, co-workers and families is electric in the first few rounds, until everyone’s bracket gets busted.
This year was especially electric due to the unforgettable history that was made by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a No. 16 seed. Never, in the history of college basketball and the NCAA tournament, has a No. 16 seed beat the No. 1 seed. Until this year.
UMBC took down the defensive powerhouse of Virginia by knocking them completely off their game plan of possessing the ball and working for high percentage shots. Although the Retrievers lost in the second round, they will forever be in the NCAA history books with that signature win over the Cavaliers.
This was not the only Cinderella story that made up the tournament. Loyola University of Chicago made a name for themselves as the only No. 11 seed to make the Final Four, along with college basketball powerhouses of Michigan, Villanova and Kansas. They were the odd man out, but they had the support of Sister Jean, who has made a name for herself as the team’s good luck charm. Although she had her team losing in the Sweet Sixteen, she said, “I don’t care that you broke my bracket” to the team.
To give perspective on how obscure this Final Four is, according to the ESPN bracket challenge: 550 out of 17,304,320 brackets predicted the Final Four of Loyola-Chicago, Villanova, Michigan and Kansas.
One of the many Seton Hill University students who filled out a bracket was senior marketing/human resources major Sean Stanners, who said his brackets were “busted big time, baby.” Stanners had Purdue, Xavier, Arizona and Michigan State in the Final Four. A bit off, but obviously very realistic.
That is the beauty of March; anyone can make a run for the title and go down in the history books. Before the Final Four competitions, many people wondered: Will Loyola-Chicago finish their Cinderella run? Kansas bring another one home? Michigan be the unlikely winner? Villanova dominate the way they are supposed to?
Villanova turned out to be the clear winner with an overwhelming performance against Michigan on April 2. Redshirt sophomore Donte DiVincenzo put the team on his back as the first one off the bench to score 31 points and earn most outstanding player of the Final Four. This is Villanova’s second championship in three years.
Published By: Stephen Dumnich