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Richland Chronicle 12/05/23
Richland Chronicle 12/05/23

FULL ARTICLE: March Madness hits NCAA, topples some favorites

Staff Writer Cade Harris

From Cinderella stories to hated rivalries, the 2022 March Madness Tournament had just about everything you could hope for.

The 83rd edition of the NCAA Men’s Division 1 tournament is the first tournament back to regular sized crowds since the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament also went back to the system of playing games all across the country. Last year’s tournament was only played in Indiana to prevent teams from catching COVID-19.

A total of six Texas teams were in this year’s field: Texas Tech, Baylor, UT Austin, TCU, Houston University and Texas Southern.

One of the main things the beloved tournament is known for is the many upsets on the way to the Final Four and there was no shortage of that this year.

The Round of 64 is where most of the upsets take place every year. The biggest upset of the round was 15 seed Saint Peter’s University taking down two seed Kentucky. To get an idea behind the craziness of this upset, The University of Kentucky has a student body of 29,896 while Saint Peter’s has a student body of 3,197.

Another upset in the first round was 12 seed Richmond taking down the 5 seed and Big Ten champion Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa was coming in as one of the hottest teams in the tournament, but they could not get past the Atlantic 10 champions.

Twelve seed New Mexico State was also able to take down a 5 seed as they got past the University of Connecticut. Redshirt junior Teddy Allen scored 37 points for NMSU to help send them on to the second round.

Other upsets were 11 seed Notre Dame beating 6 seed Alabama, 11 seed Michigan ousting 6 seed Colorado State, 11 seed Iowa St. topping 6 seed LSU and 10 seed Miami taking down 7 seed USC.

The Round of 32 was not short of upsets either as the Cinderella teams continued to bust brackets.

Saint Peter’s continued its run, snapping a 21-game win streak from 7 seed Murray State. Fan favorite Doug Edert scored 13 points off the bench to help Saint Peter’s move on to the Sweet 16.

Michigan also continued its run, knocking off 3 seed and SEC champion, Tennessee. There was much discussion going into the tournament on whether or not Michigan should have made it, but the players continued to silence their doubters.

The first 1 seed was defeated in the second round when 8 seed North Carolina knocked off defending national champion Baylor. North Carolina led by as much as 28 in the game before Baylor made a comeback. UNC was able to hold them off and win 93-86.

Other big upsets in the round were Iowa State beating 3 seed Wisconsin and Miami outlasting 2 seed Auburn. Auburn and Wisconsin both were the regular season champions of their respective conferences but both were unable to make a run in the tournament.

The Sweet 16 is the round that the big upsets tend to slow down, but that was not the case this year.

Once again, the Cinderella run continued for the Saint Peter’s Peacocks as they knocked

off 3 seed Purdue, ironically on National Peacock Day. At the end of the game, Edert jumped on to the scorer’s table to celebrate, which will become a moment Saint Peter’s fans will never forget.

North Carolina was also able to capitalize after its upset win against Baylor as they knocked off four seed and fellow “blue blood,” UCLA. Sophomore Caleb Love scored 30 points for UNC to help them advance to the Elite Eight.

A second 1 seed went down as 4 seed Arkansas was able to defeat the West Coast Conference champion, Gonzaga. Gonzaga lost in the national championship game last year and was looking to get some revenge this year but they were unable to get past the Razorbacks.

Another 1 seed suffered defeat in the Sweet 16, as 5 seed Houston defeated the Arizona Wildcats. Houston made it further than any other Texas team this year.

The Elite Eight consisted of no upsets but the produced entertaining games nonetheless. The combined seed count in the Elite Eight was 47, the highest in tournament history.

North Carolina ended the magical run from Saint Peter’s in the Elite Eight, winning by a score of 69-49. The game was never in doubt for UNC but that does not discredit the amazing effort shown from the Saint Peter’s Peacocks throughout the tournament.

Two seed Villanova was able to get past Houston of 50-44. The loss from Houston ended the run of the last Texas team standing.

One seed Kansas took down Miami 76-50. Kansas continued to roll in this tournament all the way to the Final Four.

Two seed Duke was able to get past Arkansas and set up a dream matchup with North Carolina in the Final Four. Duke and North Carolina are regarded as one of the biggest rivalries in all of college basketball. The teams have never met in the NCAA Tournament and it just so happens to be the last year legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski will be the coach at Duke. Coach K announced at the end of last season that he would be retiring after this year. North Carolina defeated Duke in their last regular season matchup, which was also Coach K’s final home game at Cameron Indoor.

Through all the upsets of the tournament we were still given an all “blue blood” Final Four with Duke taking on North Carolina and Kansas squaring off against Villanova.

Editor’s note: At press time, the Final Four had not begun.

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