The NCAA tournaments have come and gone, and we take a look back at them saying, “What were these brackets?”
With the women’s bracket, I firmly believed that the vast majority of people had the Connecticut Huskies winning it all again. I know that I did. They dominated during the whole season and through the tournament.
To start out the tournament, UConn defeated St. Francis PA 140-52 for the largest victory of the tournament. Their smallest margin of victory was in the Sweet 16 were they defeated Duke 72-59.
UConn would eventually be knocked off by the eventual winners of the Fighting Irish of Norte Dame.
Norte Dame would defeat UConn in the Final Four 91-89 in overtime, on a jumper by Arike Ogunbowale with one second left.
The lost in the Final Four makes it consecutive seasons that that UConn would lose in the final seconds of overtime, losing to Mississippi State the in 2017. UConn finished with a 36-1 record on the season.
Norte Dame didn’t stop there as they defeated Mississippi State 61-58 on a three-point buzzer beater from Ogunbowale.
Mississippi State, who defeated Louisville in the Final Four, now have consecutive losses in the Championship games losing to South Carolina last year and Norte Dame this year.
Over on the men’s bracket is where we saw, arguably, the most bizarre bracket that has ever happened.
It all started in the round of 64, where we saw a first in the men’s tournament and a Cinderella story of sorts. And that was along with the rest of the general craziness of the opening weekend.
University of Maryland Baltimore County, who was seeded 16, defeated No. 1-ranked University of Virginia 74-54. This is the first time a 16th-seed defeated a 1st-seed in the history of the men’s tournament. The Harvard defeated Stanford in the Women’s Basketball Tournament in 1998 with the final score of 71-67.
With the victory over UVA, UMBC busted multiple people’s bracket. Virginia was the most selected team to win the tournament.
UMBC almost was able to hold off Kansas State in the Round of 32 as the Wildcats hung on 50-43. Unlike the round before, the Retrievers could not get shots to drop.
Loyola-Chicago was this year’s Cinderella team. The No. 11 seed made to the Final Four after all.
In the first three rounds, the Ramblers would win their games with a combined total of 4 points. In the Elite Eight, they trounced Kansas State 78-62.
The clock struck midnight for the Ramblers as they lost in the Final Four to Michigan. I don’t know if I was more upset that the story is over or that Sister Jean would no longer be on television. Or a combination of both.
Michigan didn’t have an easy way to the championship, as they had a buzzer beater to defeat Houston in the Round of 32.
Unless you had Michigan or Villanova winning the tournament, your bracket did not matter. Sometimes you can place well even if you don’t have any of the final two teams.
With the win for Villanova, that would be their second title in three years. At least this one broke fewer brackets than two years ago. That said, if you were salty about the first title in that span, like a certain Sports Editor at The Spectrum, this may just sting a little more.
One last upset would be Buffalo defeating Arizona in the Round of 64. To me, Arizona was one of the teams that could do the most damage and win that not a lot of people were talking about. That, and Michigan State losing in the Round of 32.
Marshall defeating Wichita State is considered an upset with a 13-seed defeating a 4-seed, but Marshall was given a lot of praise before the start of the tournament.