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Thursday, Oct 28, 2021

March Madness continues surprises us

On March 19 at 2:30, Madness had already begun to take place. The 14th seeded UAB Blazers knocked off the No. 3 seed, the Iowa State Cyclones, 60-59. This was a surprise because many had the Cyclones advancing deep in the tournament.

"UAB was the upset of the tournament; no one had them getting past Iowa State. They ruined a lot of brackets," said avid basketball fan Nick Wooten.

Only five times in the last 15 years has a No. 14 seed upset a No. 3 seed. Yet, just an hour later, another No. 14 seed, Georgia State, toppled the Baylor Bears. Brackets everywhere had been busted up just hours into the tournament.

Brady Brettin expressed that this was his favorite game to watch. “You don't get a better storyline than a father and son taking down a [No.] 3 seed,” said Brettin. “R.J Hunter played like a pedestrian for the first 37 minutes then single handedly brought them back to win in the final three minutes."

Just hours later in the same arena that UAB pulled their massive upset, the No. 11 seed UCLA upset the 6th seeded SMU Mustangs. This set up an 11 vs 14 matchup for the second straight year, as Mercer squared off with Tennessee in the previous tournament.

As day one of the tournament came to a close, four lower seeds had advanced, including the Ohio State Buckeyes.

If day one was the day of the underdog, then day two was all about the favorites. Only one lower seed managed to take down a higher seed, as 11th seeded Dayton beat the Providence Friars to advance to the round of 32.

The opening weekend provided a fast and furious pace with multiple close games and wild upsets. The round of 32 was much like the first round, as brackets were busted as each game unfolded.

The No. 8 seeded NC State team who barely squeezed by LSU in the first round was able to take down the first number one seed of the tournament.

"NC State wrecked my bracket. I had Villanova making to the championship game, and I watched my first final four team get knocked out in the round of 32," said student Jordan Wright.

In the same region, Michigan State was able to maintain its momentum from their first round victory over Georgia and knock off No. 2 seed Virginia.

"Michigan State’s run to the final four essentially ended my bracket. I had Virginia going all the way to the championship game, and that got shut down by the Spartans," said basketball fan Jack Faulkner.

Wichita State pulled a second upset of a No. 2 seed that same day as it downed in-state rival Kansas by a double-digit margin.

The Sweet Sixteen provide just as much intrigue and exciting games. Michigan State continued its charge through the bracket knocking off No. 3 seed Oklahoma in a thriller that ended 62-58.

The No. 1 overall seed, the Kentucky Wildcats, played inspired against West Virginia. West Virginia freshman Daxter Miles Jr stated, “they (Kentucky) do not play hard.” The Wildcats proved that they do in fact play hard as they as they beat down the Mountaineers 78-39 on their way to Elite Eight and 37-0 record.

Kentucky had not been tested until the instant classic that the Elite Eight produced. Notre Dame took it down to the wire. Jerian Grant’s shot from three-point range came up just short as The Fighting Irish lost to the Wildcats by two points as Kentucky improved 38-0.

“This game had everything. Amazing shots, and it was hard fought until the very end. Kentucky just cannot be stopped right now,” said basketball enthusiast C.J Kleckley.

The Elite Eight produced multiple close games and memorable moments. Michigan State trumped Louisville in an overtime thriller while Duke outlasted Gonzaga in a hard fought game. Arizona was ousted due to Wisconsin’s inability to miss in the second half, as it shot over 70% from the field.

After all this madness, four teams remain with a shot at greatness and for immortality. Kentucky will be going for a historic 40-0 season while Duke, Wisconsin and Michigan State will look to spoil that. If the last two weeks have been any indication, then more March Madness is still to come.

R.J. Hunter, a guard from Georgia State University, tackles his father and coach, Ron Hunter, after the team won the Sun Belt Championship putting the team into March Madness.


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