March Madness is a memorable time for athletes and fans to appreciate their love of basketball across the nation consisting of multiple team upsets, buzzer beaters, and the very close edge of your seat games. March Madness is not only a big-time sports event that everyone looks forward to watching; it is a tournament full of culture that provides excitement, passion, and adrenaline for both players and fans in the stadiums.
March Madness consists of six total rounds of elimination until the championship team is named. The tournament starts with a total of 64 teams from all over the nation and each round has its own nickname to help everyone recognize just how many teams are left in the tournament:
- The Round of 64
- The Second Round (round of 32)
- The Sweet Sixteen
- The Elite Eight
- The Final Four
- The Championship Two
The yearly March Madness tournament is known for the upsets that occur between teams with a higher seed and the teams of lower-ranking going into the tournament. Especially in this year’s tournament, throughout each round, the underdogs would come out on top, upsetting the top-ranked teams majorly.
In the first round of 64, the first major upset was the 15th seed St. Peter’s beating the No. 2 seed, the Kentucky Wildcats with a final score of 85-79. This was a major upset for Kentucky because of the success they saw during previous tournaments, making it to the Elite Eight in the 2019 tournament. St. peter’s victory over the No. two seed was unexpected but was thrilling for fans, as well.
Going into the tournament the Gonzaga Bulldogs were ranked first overall and had heavy support with them going into the 2022 tournament, due to placing second overall in the 2021 competition. But the Bulldogs ended up losing to Arkansas (N0. 4 seed) in the Elite Eight round.
The Kansas Jayhawks made it through all six rounds of play and were named the 2022 March Madness Champions. The Jayhawks faced off against the North Carolina Tar Heels who have previously won six NCAA championships within the last decade. With an ending score of 72-69, Kansas won their fourth national championship all led by head coach, Bill Self.
During the 2021 tournament, all games were held inside “The Bubble”. This was a stadium converted into housing to hold all the top teams and keep the spread of Covid under control at the time. All players and coaches were prohibited from exiting the building and were tested every day for the duration of the tournament.
One major factor that made the 2022 tournament so thrilling and full of energy was the return of fans to the stadiums where the competition was taking place. The fan aspect of March Madness has always been what makes March Madness different from other types of big collegiate tournaments. Fans dress up mascots, paint their bodies the school colors, and cheer proudly for the team they support.
According to the Review-Journal, fans being reintroduced to the March Madness aura was “ One thing I make sure that we never take […] for granted,” said Gonzaga head coach, Mark Few, stated.
Another big topic that turned heads during the tournament was the retirement of Duke’s head coach, Mike “K” Krzyzewski. The coach had coached Duke for the past 42 years, leading the men’s basketball team to greatness and 5 national championships, along with 13 regular-season titles. He is one of the best coaches known in the college basketball world and many were saddened to see Coach K retire, but also recognize the massive legacy he had left behind for the future at Duke basketball.
“Coach K has sustained his program on the top tier of the game for more than 35 years, a run of preeminence in the game that no coach has matched. Nobody has done it that well for that long,” ESPN Basketball Analysis Jay Bilas stated.
Overall, the 2022 March Madness tournament has been having finally gotten back to “looking like its familiar self,” as Review-Journal said. With the upset of the number one team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, to fans being able to watch at courtside again after three long years, and the celebrated legacy of one of the men’s college basketball’s most renowned coaches, many cannot wait to see what the 2023 tournament will have in store next year.