64 division I colleges square off in world’s most famous tournament

Casey Collins, Staff Writer

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On March 17, CBS hosted its annual March Madness selection show, celebrating 64 teams who have created an impressive enough resume to reach post season play of college basketball.

The NCAA tournament has been around for 80 years, and is one of the most popular postseasons in all of sports. In 2018, the tournament accumulated over 97 million U.S. viewers from the first round to the last.

Something that about this tournament that attracts immense attention is the fact that over 70 million people fill out their own bracket, attempting to predict the winners of each round. People create brackets and compete for prizes, bragging rights or even self satisfaction.

The tournament wasn’t given the nickname “March Madness” for no reason, in that every year, higher seeds in the tournament get upset by lower seeds, which creates a lot of excitement for fans rooting for the underdog or whoever they picked on their bracket.

In fact, during last year’s tournament, No. 11 seed Lloya of Chicago took the world by storm and made a “Cinderella run” all the way to the Final Four where they were finally upheld by the No. 3 seed Michigan Wolverines.

The first game of this year’s tournament was a matchup between the No. 7 seed Louisville Cardinals and the No. 10 seed Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Golden Gophers were able to kick off the madness with a 86-76 upset.

On the second day of the first round, the largest upset was completed when the No. 13 seed UC Irvine Anteaters defeated the No. 4 seed Kansas State Wildcats by a score of 70-64. Kansas State, who posted a 25-9 record in the regular season in a strong Big 12 conference, was left in heartbreak after all of their hard work. This is one of the hardest things teams sometimes have to face when playing in this tournament.

Another exciting and highly anticipated game was the No. 5 seed Marquette Golden Eagles against the Ohio Valley Conference champion and No. 12 seed Murray State Racers. Among the Racers is anticipated 2019 NBA lottery pick, Ja Morant (24.5 ppg). Morant led the Racers to an upset victory with 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds. His performance marked Morant as the eighth player in the NCAA tournament to record a triple double.

In the 64th round, 12 out of 32 games ended in an upset, leaving only 10 perfect brackets in the world to remain. That number shrunk to only one after the 32nd round, marking the only bracket to ever remain perfect into the Sweet 16.

In the second round, only one higher seed was upset (Kansas), setting up what should be a very exciting Sweet 16. No 1 seed Duke Blue Devils were on the brink of elimination against the No. 9 seed UCF Knights, escaping with a 77-76 win that came down to the final seconds of regulation. The game featured two of the most talked about players in the whole tournament in Duke’s 6 foot 7 star, Zion Williamson and UCF’s 7 foot 6, Tacko Fall. Fall, who is known as the largest player in the tournament, and Williamson, who is known for his exceptional highlight dunks, created an remarkable matchup. 94.5% of people had Duke reaching the Sweet 16.

The madness looks to continue into the final rounds of the tournament, and the one person who still has a perfect bracket continues to keep their fingers crossed. Based off of history, which tends to repeat itself, more upsets are likely to occur and fans will continue to be pushed to the edge of their seats as one of sports most famous tournaments comes to a close.

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