March Madness Recap


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10. Alabama nailing a buzzer beater to force OT against UCLA

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This was only one of two true buzzer beater of the tournament. Although UCLA dominated in overtime, it was a great game that went back and forth in the final minutes, which culminated in a buzzer beater by Alex Reese to force OT. Although it only extended the Tide’s season for five minutes, it was still an incredible ending to a exceptional game in regulation. This was one of three OT games the Bruins played, and it deserves to be in the top 10.

9. Syracuse and Buddy Boehiem’s dominance

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Buddy Boehiem, son of legendary coach Jim Boehiem, was not heavily recruited. He didn’t start to become a key contributor to the Orange until his senior season at the start of March. Once Buddy found his stroke however, he dominated and led the Orange, a bubble team that had to win their last four games just to sneak into the tournament, to first round upsets of both San Diego State and West Virginia. Buddy’s play gained him national attention which might be enough to get him drafted. Buddy scored 30 and 25 points in the first 2 games, becoming the biggest factor in the Orange’s offensive production, accounting for 28.4% of the Orange’s offense, according to the Daily Orange. His offensive struggles against Houston was a huge factor in their loss, as he went 3-13 shooting and only 1-9 from 3, scoring only 12 points. According to the Daily Orange, only 4.3% of brackets picked the Orange to get to the Sweet 16, and Buddy was the biggest factor in their run.

8. Abilene Christian hits late free throws to beat Texas

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Although the second day of madness didn’t have any upsets until the eighth game when Ohio beat Virginia, the biggest upset of the day came from the final game of the second round. It was an absolute thriller. Joe Pleasant, a 58% free throw shooter, nailed two free throws with just 1.2 seconds to go. It was the Wildcat’s first ever NCAA tournament victory, as the team transitioned to division I and only became eligible for the tournament in 2018, according to CBS Sports. The Wildcats forced 23 Texas turnovers, a season high for the Longhorns. The Wildcats played incredibly stifling defense all game, holding the Longhorns to 52 points, a season low scoring output. They entered hot, winning 12 of their last 13 games, and winning the Southland Conference Tournament, according to CBS Sports. They became the first 14 seed to win in the opining round since Steven. F. Austin in 2016.

7. Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina didn’t make the Sweet 16 for the first time ever

The Sweet 16 was historic for many reasons, not only because of who made it, but who didn’t make it. Since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985, at least one or a combination of Kansas, Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina have made the Sweet 16, according to Sports Illustrated. For the first time ever, this wasn’t the case this year. Duke and Kentucky didn’t even make the tournament, which is pretty historic on its own, as Duke has made every year since 1995 and Kentucky every year since 2013. North Carolina lost in the first round to Wisconsin, and Kansas lost in the second round to USC. They lost by a combined 57 points as well.

6. Loyola-Chicago breaking brackets again

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Loyola-Chicago became the third 11 seed to make the final four in 2018, and was easily the biggest Cinderella of that tournament. They returned and shocked college basketball again by beating top-seeded Illinois 71-58. Winners of the Missouri Conference and owning a 26-4 record, many thought the Ramblers were seeded very low by getting the 8 seed. That didn’t stop them from pulling off one of the bigger upsets of the tournament. They were led by Cameron Krutwig, senior center and a formidable defender down low, a big part of Loyola’s stifling defense, which was the best  in the NCAA. They graduated from Cinderella to a serious contender, and while they fell to Oregon State, they beat the second most popular national champion, picked in a total of 15.69% of brackets, according to, breaking brackets everywhere.

5. The record-breaking Sweet 16

Not only did this year’s Sweet 16 not include Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, or Kansas for the first time, it also set a couple other records. The seeds in the Sweet 16 included three No. 1 seeds, two No. 2 seeds, a No. 3 seed, a No. 4 seed, two No. 5 seeds, a No. 6 seed, a No. 7, a No. 8, two No.11 seeds, a No. 12, and a No. 15 seed. Add those seeds up and you get a staggering total of 94, the highest total of any Sweet 16 ever. It also set a record for the highest average seed in the Sweet 16 at 5.88, according to Sports Illustrated. This was the most Cinderella-laden Sweet 16 in history.

4. The Pac-12’s dominance, including Oregon State’s incredible run

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The Pac-12 was severely overlooked as a conference this year, and they proved that by absolutely dominating the first three rounds of the tournament. The Pac-12 sent three teams to the Elite Eight, and would have sent four if Oregon and USC didn’t play each other in the Sweet 16. Compare that to the Big Ten, who got nine teams in the tournament only to see eight of those teams lose before the Sweet 16. The Pac-12 became the first conference in history to put three teams seeded No. 3 or lower – No. 6 USC, No. 11 UCLA, and No. 12 Oregon State into the Elite Eight, according to the Wall Street Journal. The biggest surprise from this conference was easily Oregon State, who was picked to finish last in the Pac-12, yet won the Conference tournament and carried that momentum into blowout victories over Tennessee and Oklahoma State, and beat Loyola-Chicago before failing to come back against Houston.

3. Oral Roberts Cinderella run

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If you were to choose the most impressive Cinderella team in this year’s tournament, it would have to be Oral Roberts. They became only the second ever 15 seed to advance to the second round, joining Florida Gulf Coast in 2013. They nearly became the first ever 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16, but saw Devonte Davis nail a jumper with 3.1 seconds left, and saw a last second three rim out of the basket. They were the highest free throw shooting team in the nation, and had the nation’s leading scorer Max Abmas, who averaged over 21 points in the regular season, and was impressive in the Golden Eagles run, scoring 29 and 26 points, and scoring 25 in the loss to Arkansas. Oral Roberts beat No. 2 seed Ohio State in OT and Florida and were so close to making history, but still had one of, if not the most impressive tournament run.

2. Baylor ending Gonzaga’s perfect season to win their first ever National Championship

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Whatever went down in  the National Championship game, it would be histori. Either Gonzaga would become the fist ever undefeated team to win a championship since the 197-1976 Indiana Hoosiers, or Baylor would topple them and win their fist ever national title. It was the latter that came true, as Baylor was on fire and led by double-digits most of the way in a 86-70 victory. Gonzaga ran out of gas after the incredible overtime win against UCLA in the final four. Baylor’s elite offense and lock-down defense was enough to slow down the undefeated bulldogs.

1. UCLA-from first 4 to final four, including incredible Final Four match with Gonzaga

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UCLA has been incredible in this tournament, and became only the second team in history to play in a first four game, meaning they were one of the last 4 teams in the tournament, and got all the way to the final four, the first since VCU in 2011. They won their first four game in OT, survived an OT match against Alabama, and then survived a couple last second looks from the top seeded Michagan to earn their way into the Final Four. Then, they payed in not only the best game of the tournament, but one of the best NCAA games of the last decade, pushing unbeaten Gonzaga to OT and losing on a last second buzzer beater by freshman Jalen Suggs 93-90. Led by sophomore guard Johnny Juzang, the Bruins were able to achieve an incredible run that no one saw coming, and nearly shoked the nation by beating the unbeaten.