An Overview of March Madness

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Despite the Alabama Crimson Tide’s attempts to catch up to the UCLA Bruins, they lost with a score of 88-78.

By Rachel Kim (I), Staff Writer

Every year as March rolls around, people get excited about the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college basketball tournament. Spectators and fans create brackets before the tournament, mapping out which teams will win and eventually take the championship. This is a difficult task, however, and no individual has ever created a perfect bracket.

A basketball fan from Boston Latin School, Gian Martinez (I), participated in making brackets, saying, “It’s really just fun. My top three brackets were all about 90 percent and like 1300 plus points, which is relatively good.”

This season, the women’s tournament concluded with an intense game between the Stanford Cardinal and the Arizona Wildcats, in which Stanford took the championship in a 54-53 win. Aari McDonald, senior guard on Arizona, was exceptional, scoring 22 points for the Wildcats. McDonald, however, missed a shot right at the buzzer, and the Cardinals, led by sophomore guard Haley Jones, took the title.

Jones has been a standout on the team and put on an impressive performance after coming back from a recent injury. She says, “When you get injured, it’s hard. You lose faith. Why am I doing this? Where is the motivation coming from? Doing little things with the people that I love around me just kind of helped me get a passion for the game again, and my confidence kind of came from there.” That confidence brought Stanford to their first NCAA championship in 29 years.

People are already looking to the 2022 season and all eyes are on Final Four favorites: University of Connecticut (UConn) and South Carolina. Arizona was a huge underdog in their Final Four game against UConn, beating them 69-59 in an upset game. Entertainment and Sports Programming Network’s bracketology expert, Charlie Creme says, “In UConn’s most dominant years, depth was always the only question. That won’t be the case next season. The Huskies are my favorite to win the title.”

Of course, every year there is just as much excitement over the men’s NCAA tournament. The competition concluded with a faceoff between the Baylor Bears and the Gonzaga (Zags) Bulldogs. Both teams were extremely successful leading up to the championship, with Baylor posting a record of 28-2 and Gonzaga going undefeated with a record of 31-0. The matchup between these two top-level teams was highly anticipated. The Bears maintained the lead the entire game, eventually defeating the Zags 86-70.

Martinez watched the championship game, saying, “[It was] underwhelming yet expected. Baylor came out of the gate with a very solid scoring run and high intensity, and made it impossible for Gonzaga to catch up.”

Baylor’s junior guard, Jared Butler, scored an outstanding 22 points for the team. After Butler’s excellent performance this season, he was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Despite the loss, Gonzaga’s coach, Mark Few says, “It’s been a fantastic season. [Our team] will look back on this season as something amazing and incredible.”

Looking ahead to the 2022 men’s NCAA season, Duke, who had tough losses this season, is looking to bounce back. Gonzaga continues to look dangerous and are expected to be a standout again in 2022. Martinez says, “[Gonzaga has] secured a [five]-star recruit in Hunter Sillas, and might even succeed in recruiting the nation’s number one high school recruit, Chet Holmgren, for next year as well. With the Zags’ second star, Drew Timme, still having one year of eligibility, I think Gonzaga has a very solid chance.” As a huge Kentucky Wildcats fan, Martinez warns, “Be wary of a run from a much more mature and hungry Kentucky team next year.”