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.

March Madness 2016

Last night was selection Sunday, the most anticipated night in NCAA Division I men’s College Basketball. It is when the basketball committee reveals which 68 teams have made the field to compete for the National Championship. It is a big event as it was televised on both and CBS. This year they made the show a two hour broadcast with more of an in depth look of how the college basketball analysts think the teams will do. Now with every team knowing where they will be playing this Thursday or Friday, the team’s best players will look to rally the team together and make a run deep into March. Below you will find the top 4 players heading into the NCAA tournament.

Buddy Hield – Oklahoma

Coming in at number one, is no other than the front-runner for the National Player of the Year award, Buddy Hield. Hield is one of the most exciting players to watch in college basketball. The Senior guard ranks second in the nation with 25 points per game, and has been the main reason why Oklahoma has enjoyed so much success this season. Hield has eclipsed the 20-point barrier in 22 of the Sooners’ 30 regular-season games and reached 30 points nine times. Oklahoma has not reached the Final Four since 2002, so you get bet that Hield will do everything in his power to get them there in his final season.

Denzel Valentine – Michigan State

Another Senior standout, Denzel Valentine,  is also in the running for National Player of the Year. The 6 foot 5 guard is the first player to average more than 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. An impressive stat line to say the least. Valentine’s leadership has also been key for the Spartans fantastic run this season. All of the players admire Valentine’s hard work and energy he brings each and every game. The Spartans will be a tough out once the tournament kicks off, especially with Valentine leading the way.

Kris Dunn- Providence

The talented star out of Providence has been extremely impressive this season and he looks to take the Friars deep into March.  Dunn is a versatile players, as he can score and defend very well. He ranks fourth in the nation in steals with 2 steals game and he also averages 16 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists per contest. He and the Friars will be force to reckon with come Thursday.

Tyler Ulis- Kentucky

Ulis is arguably the best point guard in college basketball. With Ulis leading the way, Kentucky has a shot of getting back to the Final Four for the fifth time in the past six years. The 5 foot 9 first team All-American is having one of best seasons in Kentucky basketball history. He ranks sixth in the nation in assists per game with 7.2 and averages 16.8 per contest. Ulis has been dominant down the stretch, especially in the SEC tournament where he led Kentucky to a SEC tournament title and took home the SEC Tournament MVP. All I have to say is watch out for Ulis and the Wildcats!