March Madness 2017: A Look Back

Following a dramatic ending to the 2016 tournament with Villanova taking down North Carolina on a buzzer-beating three-pointer, expectations for this year’s NCAA March Madness were high. To say the 2017 tournament was exciting would be an understatement.

 

Villanova was poised to be another strong contender following their remarkable championship win last season, and for those who filled out brackets beforehand, many had the Wildcats doing the same this year. Unsurprisingly, another favorite to win it all was North Carolina, along with Duke following close behind, as well as Gonzaga, Kansas, and UCLA. Respectively, all of these teams did extremely well as expected. However, that is not to say that 2017 was void of upsets.

 

The first round of the tournament was full of little surprises. Almost every top-seeded team won with ease in the first weekend, and those anticipated to fall did just that. However, the next round was an entirely different story. After Villanova defeated Mount St. Mary’s in their first tournament win, they moved on to no. 8 seed Wisconsin. Seeing as the Wildcats were a no. 1 seed, very few could have correctly picked the outcome of this game. Wisconsin would hold off Villanova’s explosive offense on their way to a 65-62 victory, effectively dismantling most of the country’s March Madness brackets.

 

The upsets did not end there. No. 2 seed Duke, another favorite to claim the NCAA title, would be stopped in their tracks by an impressively formidable South Carolina team, whose reign would not end there. The Gamecocks moved onto the next round to face Baylor; the Bears were seeded at no. 3, and were considered favorites in the matchup. South Carolina won by 20 points, moving on again to face an intimidating Florida team, who they also defeated until finally falling to no. 1 Gonzaga. Their extraordinary win streak was something that was certainly unexpected by many.

 

Another underdog to defy the odds was Xavier, who won their first three games of the tournament against Maryland, Florida State, and Arizona who were all considered serious contenders. However, like many, they too were stopped by Gonzaga’s strong offense and defense. With all of their wins, the Bulldogs would unsurprisingly make it to the championship game, where they met North Carolina; two no. 1 seeds who were contenders from the start.

 

The title game was very evenly matched throughout, with both teams shooting around a 34% field goal average. What seemed to plague Gonzaga however, was turnovers. The Bulldogs would turn the ball over 14 times total in the game, and the Tar Heels would take advantage. Joel Berry II would lead his North Carolina team in points with 22, making all four of the team’s only three-pointers. His efforts and that of his teammates would secure the 71-65 victory, redeeming themselves from the heartbreaking loss against Villanova just a year ago.

 

The 2017 NCAA Basketball tournament was nothing short of a drama-filled, sensational showcase of talent. Though many fans’ brackets were deemed incorrect very early on, there’s no denying that the excitement that came with every upset, win or loss, this year’s March Madness surely delivered.

Top 3 Playoff Moments in Lebron James Career So Far

At 6 foot 8, Lebron James is unlike most players in the NBA. He can dominate the game at multiple positions, something you don’t often see. The hype of Lebron James started when he was in high school and many believed he would be the next star in the NBA. Well, they were right. Everyone was immediately fascinated with LeBron James as soon as he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. Throughout his career, he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. James led the Cavs to their first NBA Finals appearance in 2007 before bolting for Miami after the 2010 season. In four seasons with the Heat, James won two titles, but he is now back with Cleveland. Here now are the 3 greatest playoff moments of LeBron’s career so far.

Lebron’s First Title
Lebron’s first championship will always his memorable one. After reaching the Finals twice and walking away empty, James and the Miami Heat won the first of two NBA Championships during the Big Three Era. They defeated a talented Oklahoma City team that featured, Kevin Durant one of best players in the league. Lebron had an incredible series and won the Finals MVP.

Game 6 of 2012 Eastern Conference Finals
In game 6 of 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Lebron James put together one of greatest playoff performances in NBA history. Yes, it was that amazing. With the Heat facing elimination, James was as locked in as I have ever seen him before. He scored 45 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out five assists to lead Miami to victory. The Heat would then defeat the Celtics in Game 7 a few nights later and move on to the NBA Finals.

Game 5 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals

If there is one performance that can contend with the one above it is when Lebron and Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons in game 5 of 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. With the series tied at 2 games a piece, James single-handedly carried the Cavaliers to victory over a great Detroit Pistons team. He scored the Cavs’ final 25 points to defeat Detroit 109-107 in double overtime. James finished with a remarkable 48 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.

 

 

 

 

Kobe Bryant to Retire at the End of the Season

499502850

The 2015-2016 NBA season will officially mark the end of an era as future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant has announced his retirement. Kobe has spent his entire 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and has helped lead them to five NBA Championships. Bryant announced his retirement this past Sunday via The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform founded by former New York Yankees captain, Derek Jeter. The Players’ Tribune provides professional athletes a medium for their direct reflections, thoughts, and experiences.

In Kobe Bryant’s first-person poem titled “Dear Basketball,” he says that basketball “gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream/And I’ll always love you for it.” “But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer,” Bryant wrote. “This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind but my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.” These powerful words by Kobe Bryant illustrate the difficulty in saying goodbye to a legendary career. He is the top scorer in Los Angeles Lakers history, which is an incredible feat considering the many Hall of Fame Lakers who played before him. Only 13 players in NBA history have played on more championship teams than Kobe Bryant. The list includes players such as Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell. Bryant is also 2nd in NBA history with 17 All-Star selections and is the youngest person to achieve 30,000 career points. The accolades speak for themselves.

Kobe’s skill, work ethic, and love for the game are admired by many, including future Hall of Famer, Dwyane Wade, who said, “He was my favorite player and he set the bar for me.

This season has been a struggle for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 3-15 record. Kobe is having one of the worst seasons in his career, but injuries have been a main factor for him missing 123 games over the past two seasons. The Laker season has become a farewell tour for Bryant, as players and fans alike are coming out in droves to witness the legends’ last games. Thank you, Kobe Bryant for an incredible career and inspiring athletes across the world.

To hear more about  Kobe Bryant’s retirement decision, check out :

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/14254236/kobe-bryant-los-angeles-lakers-announces-retire-season