by Max Osias ’24
Published Apr. 7th, 2022
Come every March, basketball fans around the country find themselves locked to the TV to catch every second of NCAA Tournament action, and this year’s tournament was no different. Favorites went home early, Cinderella teams shocked the world, and as usual, brackets were busted.
Just seven games deep, fans had been treated to a massive upset; mid-major powerhouse Iowa fell in a shocker to the twelve seed Richmond Spiders in a game that just 9.36% of brackets picked correctly.
Later that night, the Peacocks of Saint Peters put Kentucky on upset watch, defying all odds and knocking off the Wildcats in an instant-classic matchup. This sent fans into a frenzy, as Kentucky was loaded from top to bottom and spent the season dominating an incredibly tough SEC field. This game marked just the tenth instance in which a 15-seed advanced past a 2-seed.
While the second day of first-round action was not nearly as wild as the day before, plenty of games came right down to the wire. Illinois battled out a tough win over 13-seed Chattanooga in a game they led for just over 20 seconds, while 3-seed Wisconsin escaped a sharpshooting Colgate squad to advance to the Round of 32. These close games served to foreshadow the downfall of both teams, as they failed to survive their second-round matchups.
The madness rolled on through round two, as Saint Peters defeated yet another Kentucky team, knocking the Racers of Murray State out in a game in which they dominated from horn to horn.
The Sweet Sixteen was filled with close games and major upsets. To start off, Arkansas beat the overall favorite in Gonzaga, leading to another disappointing season for the Zags, who will look to reload in order to finally get over the hump.
Saint Peters became the first 15-seed to appear in the Elite Eight, knocking off a Purdue team loaded with NBA talent. They would find themselves joined by UMiami, another double-digit seed on an improbable run.
The Final Four brought one of College Basketball’s most cherished rivalries to center stage, as Duke and North Carolina would clash one last time for a spot in the title game. On the other side of the bracket, Villanova and Kansas matched up in a game representing decades of hardwood dominance and championship pedigree.
While Kansas breezed past Nova in a blowout win, Duke and UNC went down to the wire in Coach K’s final NCAA game. While Duke ultimately fell in a thriller, there could have been no better sendoff for Coach K than a hard-fought, physical game between two heavyweights that fans will remember forever.
It was the final match, all 63 games came down to this one. Right away, The Tar Heels were right back to dominating, and Kansas had no answer on either side of the ball. North Carolina was up big, going into the half up fifteen. However, Kansas rallied all the way back to take home a National Championship, etching their names in the history books of yet another thrilling Men’s Tournament.
With that, the confetti flew out red, yellow, and blue.