Every year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association hosts the largest college basketball tournament. The top 64 college teams play in a five round tournament to earn the title of national champion. Based on factors such as strength of schedule, record, and strength of conference, teams are seeded from one-sixteen in four separate regions. The first seeds are paired with sixteenth seeds, second seeds are paired with fifteenth seeds, and subsequent seeds are paired together in the same manner.
Before the official tournament begins, however, there are four ‘play-in’ games where lower-level teams have an opportunity to fight for a spot in the tournament. Two of the games are facing off to get in as an 11 seed and two of the games are trying to get in as a 16 seed. The four teams that got in from the playing games were Fairleigh D’son, Belmont, North Dakota State, and Arizona State.
March 21 and 22 were the days of the first round games being played, and the time of year every college basketball fan has been waiting for. Before round one began, people made brackets in which they predicted whihc team would win each game and move on to the future rounds. The odds of making a perfect bracket are extremely low and is nearly impossible. The odds of getting every single game right is 1 in 9.2 quintillion.
The first upset of the first round started with Murray State beating Marquette. It was not a huge surprise considering Murray State had the second best pick college player in the country, according to CBS Sports, (Murray State’s Ja Morrant only behind first best pick player, Duke’s Zion Williamson). The next significant upset of the first round was Iowa’s win over Cincinnati. The following three weeks were filled with the wins of low seeded teams. UC Irvine seeded 13th beat 4th seeded Kansas State, 12th seeded Oregon beat 5th seeded Wisconsin, and Liberty- also a 12th seeded team- beat Mississippi State. Unlike last year, all 1 seeds did move on from the first round.
Technically, the only upset of round two was Auburn’s win over Kansas. However, there were two games that came down to the wire and had a scoring difference of two points or less. Third seed LSU beat sixth seed Maryland 69-67 and first seed Duke won against ninth seed UCF 77-76. All one seeds and two seeds made it through the second round.
After asking junior Gabriel Bekele what the most exciting game of March madness was, he said it was the Purdue Virginia game in the Elite Eight. This was the game that went into overtime resulting in a 80-75 win for Virginia.
The Virginia Cavaliers went on to win the NCAA tournament beating Texas Tech.