March Madness Recap: UCONN dominates, Purdue falls short, NC State shines

1923

March Madness–the premier tournament for NCAA basketball players, teams to reach the coveted national championship, and for fans to chase the seemingly impossible perfect bracket. Each year, tens of millions of fans attempt to create the perfect bracket starting with a field of 64 teams, all aiming to win the national championship. Can't be that hard, right? Wrong. According to the NCAA, there are 9.2 quintillion possible bracket outcomes for each tournament. And against all odds, year after year, fans across the country attempt to pick winners from a field of 64, round of 32, sweet 16, elite 8, final 4 and the illustrious national championship.

This year, many Indiana residents were pleased with the results of this year’s tournament until the final game. West Lafayette, about an hour north of Greencastle, is home to Purdue University. While many know Purdue for its elite engineering and agriculture programs, many acknowledge the basketball prowess Purdue has held in recent years. While they have no national championships to show for it, Purdue consistently contends for a top seed in March and Big Ten Championships with 26 throughout their time, the most in the Big 10. This year, however, was a sight for sore eyes for Purdue fans. Many were hoping to witness the first national championship for the Boilermakers and, up until the final game, many saw that as a real possibility. In their way stood the UConn Huskies, who were well on the way to repeating a second national championship win, as they had not come close to a loss throughout the entire tournament.

UConn’s run was impressive, going on a 30-0 run against 3-seed Illinois en route to a win in the elite 8, a 14-point win against Alabama in the final 4 and a 15-point win against Purdue was a truly remarkable run for the Huskies. The other shining story throughout the tournament was the annual Cinderella, North Carolina State. The Cinderella story is reserved for a team of a lower seat that makes a deep run into the tournament. Against all odds, this team likely upset multiple teams en route to a sweet 16, Elite 8, or final four appearance. 11-seed NC State went on to upset 6-seed Texas Tech, 2-seed Marquette, and 4-seed Duke before falling to 1-seed Purdue in the final four. Only 297 brackets out of 83 million correctly picked the final four.

Next year could be the year for the Boilermakers, but those fans might have less to look forward to than their rivals down south as Indiana University is bringing in a star-studded cast, including recent commit Myles Rice.