Basketball fans across the nation were glued to their TVs witnessing absolute madness. The 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, dubbed March Madness, started with the 68-team tournament field revealed on Mar. 12. The men’s tournament featured Alabama University receiving the number one overall seed, joined by Houston University, Kansas University, and Purdue University as the other number one seeds. A tournament filled with multiple mind-boggling upsets highlighted by the impossible as Fairleigh Dickinson University, a 16-seed, upset Purdue in the opening round. This marks the second occurrence ever where a 16-seed has upset a 1-seed. Similarly, 15-seed Princeton University knocked out 2-seed Arizona University, immediately followed by another unbelievable win against 7-seed Missouri in the second round.
Other astounding results included 13-seed Furman University attaining their first tournament win since 1974 in a first round upset against 4-seed Virginia University. Furman player JP Pegues scored a three-point shot with two seconds left to push Furman ahead by one point. Defending champion Kansas University suffered a loss at the hands of 8-seed Arkansas University in the second round, ending Kansas’ hopes of back-to-back championships.
The 2023 Men’s Final Four was arguably the most bizarre in the history of college basketball. With the exception of Connecticut University (UConn), the three other schools played in their first Final Four ever. Additionally, the incredible upsets of the tournament plagued all 1-seeds as none advanced past the regional semifinals, dubbed the Sweet 16, this year. The early round shocks of the tournament were an early indicator of what would happen in Houston, the site of the 2023 Final Four. The Final Four began on Apr. 1 with 9-seed Florida Atlantic University suffering a heartbreaking defeat to 5-seed San Diego State University (SDSU). SDSU player Lamont Butler made a mid-range jump shot as time expired to push SDSU ahead by one, 72-71. The Aztecs survived a 14-point second half deficit and secured a spot in the team’s first National Championship in school history.
The second game of the Final Four featured 5-seed Miami Florida University against 4-seed UConn. UConn’s size and athleticism proved to be too much for Miami and the Huskies crushed their opponent by 13. UConn advanced to their fifth National Championship in school history and were undefeated in their four previous appearances. The National Championship occurred on Apr. 3. SDSU and UConn battled for a national title, but UConn’s defense and stellar shooting quickly put them ahead by 12 at halftime. SDSU mounted a small comeback in the second half and cut the lead to five points, but the Huskies prevailed in the end thanks to 19 points and ten rebounds from guard Tristen Newton; the final score was 76-59.
(Sources: ESPN, Forbes)