Virginia takes home title after wild tournament run


Mamadi Diakite hit the game-winner in the Elite Eight to send Virginia to its first ever Final Four appearance.

Zack Siegal, Staff Writer

The end of March marks the end of one of each year’s most exciting times: March Madness!  This tournament shows all of the basketball fans around the country what college basketball has to offer and jam-packs it all into almost a whole month of exhilarating games.  Recently in the tournament, Texas Tech beat Michigan State and Auburn lost to Virginia in the Final Four.  In the Championship Game, the Texas Tech Red Raiders lost to the Virginia Cavaliers on April 8, with a final score of 85-77 in overtime.

This season, less upsets were present, and this is especially visible when looking at the bracket and game results.  People may argue that it is less entertaining to have little upsets.  It is no question that the tournament starts to get more interesting when a crazy upset takes everyone by surprise, but, this year, that did not happen as much as it usually does.  This dramatic decrease in upsets is most likely due to the Selection Committee doing an excellent job of seeding the teams since the top teams were better than usual this year.

“I thought this year’s tournament was very unusual and predictable because the Sweet Sixteen ended up being mostly one, two and three seeds,” said freshman Andy Feinstein.  “It’s crazy that there weren’t that many big upsets.” 

However, that is not to say that this tournament was not interesting.  During the first day of the tournament, although there were only four upsets when considering seeds, half the games finished within 10 points.  Then, the next day produced eight upsets.  Though many may think that 12 upsets is a lot for the first round of one tournament, 15 of the 16 top teams managed to advance to the second round, with the lone outlier being four-seed Kansas State, who lost to UC Irvine. The second round wasn’t as exciting either.  There were two last second finishes—in the Duke-UCF game and LSU-Maryland game—but, other than that, most of the games went as predicted.

However, the second weekend of the tournament is being considered as one of the best ever by many fans.  Eight of the 12 games played during the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight finished within two possessions, and three of the games went to overtime.  These rounds showed that when the best teams are competing in the tournament, it can be even more exciting than when there are many upsets.

In the Final Four, Virginia defeated Auburn with the help of controversial last-second field goals, while Texas Tech upset Michigan State with a 10 point win.  Then, in the championship game, Texas Tech came back in order to force overtime.  However, Virginia would end up prevailing.

“I definitely think that Virginia going from last year, being knocked out by a sixteen seed in the first round, to winning the national championship is one of the most exciting and unbelievable turnarounds in NCAA history,” said Feinstein.

Virginia is a very popular choice to be this years champion. Behind top seeds North Carolina and Duke, they were the third most popular pick to win it in ESPN’s bracket challenge. Many believe with the leadership of Kyle Guy and skills of De’Andre Hunter, Virginia has what it takes to claim the title.

“Virginia is back for revenge this season and was determined to win it all after taking an early exit in last year’s tournament to the sixteenth seed, UMBC.  Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome are huge components to this year’s Virginia team who won the National Championship. Their mastermind of a coach, Tony Bennett, has been through it all and destined to win a title with his elite squad this year,” said freshman Jasper Abrahams.

Overall, this was one of the most exciting tournaments in a long time, even without an immense amount of upsets.