March Madness Tournament Review

Steven Asare, Sports Writer

March Madness has been filled with a number of up and downs and ruined brackets really showing why they call it March “Madness”. After only the first round there were only 10 perfect brackets left. The tournament had lots of drama and all the teams really poured their hearts out on the court to earn themselves and their schools respect. Many individuals on those teams were also trying to increase their NBA draft chances. One player who showed his full capabilities is Murray State’s(12) star guard Ja Morant, who recently declared for the NBA Draft. Murray state came into the tournament as the 12th seed and faced number 5 Marquette. Morant put on a show and ended the game with 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds and Murray State won 83-64. He is only the second player in the last 20 seasons to post that stat line in any game and fell two assists shy of matching the NCAA tournament record.

At the beginning of the tournament a third of the brackets created had Duke(1) going all the way and they weren’t too far off but sadly Duke’s tournament ended in a  68-67 loss to Michigan State(2)  that stunned the basketball nation as it seemed that Duke would surely make it to at least the Final Four. It was a sad way for things to finish for what could be considered one of the best recruiting classes in the history of Duke. Three of the four Freshmen that Duke picked up are headed off to the NBA draft. They are all projected to land in the top 5, Zion Williamson is almost guaranteed to be the first pick its just a matter of what NBA team picks first. R.J Barret is expected to be the third pick behind Ja Morant and Cam Reddish is projected to go fifth.

Perhaps one of the most underrated teams in the tournament was Auburn(5) . They dominated the midwest region of the tournament by upsetting Kansas(4), North Carolina(1) and Kentucky(2). They were literally seconds away from beating Virginia(1) but a foul was called on the late game winning 3 point attempt by Virginia’s guard Kyle Guy, This sent him to the line with the score at 60-62 and three free throw attempts. He made the first two with ease leading to a timeout being called, they came back and the court was silent as he prepared for the shot and the pressure of a lifetime he drained the last free throw ending the game at 62- 63 and propelling Virginia to the National Championship. Michigan State(2) coming off of their win versus Duke was set to play Texas Tech(3) a team known for their dominant defense. The game was close in the first half 23-21, but Texas Tech pulled away in the second half earning themselves a trip to the National Championship

Virginia, a team that had breezed through the first three round of the tournament, was set to play a Texas Tech team that was riding momentum after upsetting Gonzaga(1) and Michigan State. The National Championship game was heavily anticipated to be a slow paced, defense oriented hard fought game. The game Started as a close fought game but halfway into the first quarter Virginia took off and ended up leading 17-7 with ten minutes left in the first half. Texas tech then rallied up a 10-2 run through 3 minutes and tied the game up at 19-19. They battled out the rest of that half and the game was 29-32 at the final buzzer of the half. In the first minute of the 2nd Quarter Virginia began to pull away by knocking down three pointers and getting to the line. Texas Tech spent the next 16 minutes of the game playing catch up and finally did with 3:28 left in the Quarter. Texas Tech was hot, they brought the score to 65-68 and had Virginia trailing by 3 with 22 seconds on the Clock. Virginia knew that waiting for a last second shot may have been difficult especially against the Texas Tech defense, they pushed the ball down the court and Sophomore guard Deandre Hunter pulled up for a three point attempt and Drained it Tying up the game sending the game to overtime. In Overtime Texas Tech brought the score to 73-70 but then Virginia absolutely took off and Scored 15 points in the last two minutes and claiming themselves as National Champions.