March Madness Recap


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Players gather on the court before a March Madness basketball game

Nicholas Ferderer

Most people call the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament March Madness for a reason. In the history of the 64 team tournament era, #1 seeds were 135-0 in the first round of the tournament — until this year. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County came into the tournament with a record of 24-10, and American East Conference champions. Behind seniors Jarius Lyles and KJ Maura, the Retrievers upset the #1 overall seed in the 2018 tournament, University of Virginia, who was 31-2, and many people’s favorite to win the tournament, including mine. Lyles finished the game with 28 points. It was almost as though he could not miss a shot. Even after the referees blew their whistle, Lyles shot went in. Not to undermine UMBC’s abilities, but Virginia lost one of their best players, freshman De’Andre Hunter, who averaged 9.2 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes a game. However, one would think with the #1 defense in the nation and a deep roster of outstanding players, Virginia would still be able to cruise to victory. It was not that easy. The Retrievers of UMBC dominated the clearly unfocused, unprepared Cavaliers of Virginia, 74-54. In their next game, however, UMBC lost to Kansas State 43-50.

Only four 11 seeds have made it to the Final Four including VCU, LSU, and Georgetown, with the University of Loyola-Chicago being the most recent. The Ramblers had their team chaplain and part-time coach Sister Jean Delores Schmidt to thank for their preparedness for the tournament since she provides a pregame prayer and scouting report. Sister Jean is 98 years old and still attends every game. On their road to San Antonio, they beat six seed Miami (FL) in the first round, three seed Tennessee in the second round, seven seed Nevada in the Sweet Sixteen, and nine seed Kansas State in the Elite Eight, with Junior Clayton Custer leading the charge with 9.2 points per game in the tournament. The Michigan Wolverines ended the Ramblers postseason run in the national semifinals by a score of 69-57. Sister Jean could not get the Ramblers going for one more game.

Villanova became National Champions for the second time in three years, beating Michigan 79-62, with senior Donte DiVincenzo, who scored 31 points. Michigan could not run an effective offense for most of the game, and as you would expect, Villanova could. Additionally, Michigan is 27-0 when senior Duncan Robinson scores at least six points in a game; he had zero points against Villanova.

It was a historic year for March Madness with the first 16-1 upset, the fourth 11 seed to advance to the Final Four, and Villanova winning its second championship in three years when they beat Michigan. I cannot see a more exciting tournament occurring for a number of years, but this is why it is called March Madness.