The 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been one that will go down in history as one of the craziest of all time. We saw nothing but upsets and history being made over the course of the tournament. For the first time ever, we saw a 16-seed upset the number one overall seed. On the second night of the tournament, we saw the University of Maryland Baltimore County upset the number one overall team in the tournament, the Virginia Cavaliers. We also saw the State University of New York Buffalo upset the number four ranked Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats were a heavily favored team with their star center DeAndre Ayton. Ayton has been talked about to go number one overall in this upcoming NBA Draft. Every year we see our upsets, but seriously none like this year’s upsets.
This year’s Final Four consisted of powerhouse and number one ranked Kansas as they took on the Villanova Wildcats, the team that won the National Championship two years ago. Then we have the number 11 seed, Loyola Chicago as they take on the University of Michigan who was last seen in the Final Four back in 2013 when Trey Burke led them to the National Championship game where they lost to the dominant Louisville Cardinals. This Final Four is unlike any other. For the first time in school history, Loyola Chicago has made it to the Final Four. Many people know them or have heard of them on the news or sports television because of Sister Jean, also referred to as the team’s good luck charm.
Key upsets of the tournament include Buffalo topping Arizona. Miami (FL) getting upset by Final Four-member Loyola Chicago. Syracuse taking down heavily favorited Michigan State and NBA bound Miles Bridges and Hall of Fame caliber coach Tom Izzo. Izzo was outcoached by fellow respected future Hall of Famer Jim Boheim. Still perhaps the biggest upset in the tournament was when UMBC defeated number one Virginia. That upset is going down in history and will most likely remain in history books for a very long time. Let’s not forget another favorite, University of North Carolina getting upset by number seven Texas A&M, who is heavily referred to as a “football” school by fans all around according to NCAA March Madness Live.
Upsets and broken brackets were the trend of this year’s tournament. Brackets have been ripped and torn apart. Tears have been shed. Crazy fact, only .48% of brackets had Loyola Chicago making the Final Four, according to ESPN Tourney Challenge Statistics. That percentage is out of millions. Even sitting here watching the Final Four, it is crazy to believe how an 11-seed made it this far. But this does raise a point on one thing. Changing the format on how smaller conferences deserve more respect, a better RPI ranking, and easily just more publicity. If Loyola did not win their conference title, the Missouri Valley Conference, they wouldn’t have even been in the tournament. This is a slap in the face to the committee and more schools like the MVC, the A10 and other small conferences deserve a better shot to make it into the field of 64.
The tournament was complete on April 2. The number one seed Villanova Wildcats dominated the Michigan Wolverines from the beginning all the way to the end in the championship game. The Wildcats were led by national player of the year, Jalen Brunson, and Donte DiVicenzo. According to ESPN, DiVicenzo scored the most points (31) off the bench in a National Championship game ever. He was also named the most outstanding player of this year’s Final Four due to his stellar performance.
This years’ tournament consisted of 20 upsets. Nine upsets in the first round, six in the second round, four in the sweet 16 and one final in the elite eight. We can possibly have two more in the Final Four, possibly three depending on the final outcome of the games. These numbers and stats are absurd and nothing that anyone, not even the experts could have predicted. The tournament definitely lived up to the “madness” known as March and we look forward to what the tournament will bring for us next year.