March Madness Recap

Anthony DiMuzio, Sports Editor

March Madness is, as the name subtly implies, always a crazy affair. However, the 2023 edition of the fabled tournament might have been the most unpredictable one yet. The best team in the Final Four teams was just a four seed, which is unheard of for the tournament. In just the first round, two of the tournament favorites (Purdue and Arizona) were knocked out by teams that were considered to be far inferior.

  All four of the top seeded teams were eliminated by the Elite Eight, which has not ever happened before. Purdue became just the second number one seed to lose in the first round in tournament history, as they lost to Fair Dickinson University , or FDU (who was the lowest overall seed in the tournament) 63-58. Kansas, who was the betting favorite entering the tournament, lost in the second round to eight seeded Arkansas. Alabama and Houston, who were also highly favored to do well in the tournament, both lost in the third round to fifth-seeded teams. 

  With all of the drama surrounding the plethora of upsets, it is shocking to realize just how dominant the University of Connecticut was in their run to winning the championship. They did not win a single game by less than double digit points, and ended up beating fifth seeded San Diego State University by thirteen to win the title.

  However, the largest story looming over the competition was Brandon Miller from Alabama. Despite him being involved in a criminal investigation involving a shooting, he was still allowed by Alabama to play in the tournament. Many fans were outraged by the decision, and Miller/Alabama being heavily cheered against throughout the tournament, until their eventual elimination. Miller is also likely to be a high selection in the upcoming NBA draft. 

  With all that being said, it still does not even scratch the surface of the pure chaos of this year’s tournament. Marquette and Duke, who are both common picks to win the tournament annually, both fell early. Virginia was another common pick to win the tournament, but they fell in the first round to Creighton. Kentucky, who entered this season as the #1 ranked team in the country failed to even qualify for the tournament, which has never happened before. Villanova also failed to qualify, despite them making it to the Final Four in last year’s competition. 

   With all that being said, the most exciting part of the tournament, especially for people in Florida, was the ultimate underdog run to the Final Four by Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Going into the tournament, FAU had never won a single game in March, and was a measly ninth-seeded team who none of the experts saw going very far. FAU managed to surpass expectations and anyone’s wildest dreams, defeating high-ranked schools Tennessee and Kansas State (among others) on their path to a Final Four berth. While San Diego State University (SDSU) might have squashed FAU’s dream of winning the whole thing, this year’s tournament can only be seen as a success for them. 

   Due to all of these shocking upsets, one of the more famed March Madness traditions became much more frustrating than usual. Picking a March Madness bracket is something any self-respecting college basketball fan does annually, and while nobody has ever had an entirely perfect bracket, there’s typically some that come pretty close. This year, out of the millions of people that crafted a bracket, there were exactly zero that got every first round matchup correct, which is shocking. 

   Overall, while March always brings insane upsets and drama, this year was the most insane yet. It was the maddest March Madness basketball has ever seen.