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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Men’s March Madness was Pure Madness

Jacob Rice on Unsplash

The big dance, most commonly known as March Madness, has officially come to an end with UConn winning the Championship, making them back-to-back title winners; the first team to do so since 2007 when Florida State did it. But looking back on the rest of the tournament it was, pun intended, pure madness. It was full of broken brackets, rising stars, and hope for the Cinderella story team such as NC State.

The tournament starts with 64 teams, each team is ranked 1-16, and after the first round only 32 remain as each round is an elimination round. In the first round, we saw a few games that were notable upsets, including twelfth-seed James Madison’s victory over fifth-seed Wisconsin 72-61 and thirteenth-seed Yale’s win against 4th-seed Auburn 78-76. As the tournament unraveled, there was more excitement in the round of 32 where teams showed their true colors and pride.  

In round 32, there were nail-biter games with dramatic finishes. Some standout games were when third-seed Creighton won a double-overtime thriller against 11th-seed Oregon, while first -seed Houston secured its fifth straight Sweet 16 berth with an overtime victory over 9th-seed Texas A&M. Round 32 ultimately set the stage for an exciting Sweet 16 which will separate the elite from the pack in the race for the championship. 

In the Sweet 16, we saw strong performances from some top seeds and others who couldn’t finish the job. We saw a strong finish from fourth-seed Alabama over first-seed North Carolina, and 11th-seed NC State over second-seed Marquette being the upsets for that round. We also saw first-seed UConn have a dominant game over fifth-seed San Diego State University where UConn won by 30.   

In the Elite Eight, we saw four teams who stood out from the rest, showcasing their skill, determination, and championship potential. UConn continued their dominant run, proving why they were the top overall seed. Alabama made history by reaching their first-ever Final Four, showing off their strong offense. NC State, as a No. 11 seed, defied expectations and made a remarkable journey to the Final Four. First-seed Purdue Completes the group, returning to the Final Four for the first time since 1980. 

The final four was dominated by UConn and Purdue as they both won their game with double-digit leads showing why they are both one seeds in the tournament. Their wins set the stage for a highly anticipated championship game.  

The Championship game was between UConn and Purdue. UConn defeated Purdue 75-60. Tristen Newton led the Huskies with 20 points, seven assists, and five rebounds. Zach Edey scored 37 points for Purdue, but Purdue couldn’t match UConn’s dominance. This victory marked UConn’s second consecutive national championship and sixth overall. Many people were excited to see UConn win another championship especially those who had them winning their bracket like senior Connor Robb ’24.  

“Being from Connecticut, seeing UConn win back-to-back has been surreal, especially since I was able to physically be there on campus to celebrate,” Robb said.   

Other standout players from the tournament were Duke’s Jared McCain, NC State’s DJ Burns JR, and lastly UConn’s Cam Spencer.  

During the tournament, Jared McCain from Duke showcased his scoring prowess and leadership on the court, making clutch plays in crucial moments. 

 NC State’s DJ Burns Jr. impressed with his dominant presence in the paint, using his size and skill to overpower opponents and contribute significantly to his team’s success.

UConn’s Cam Spencer was a key player in their championship run, providing consistent scoring, sharpshooting from beyond the arc, and timely defensive plays. Cam Spencer also played basketball at Loyola for three seasons and is related to Pat Spencer ‘19, who now plays professional basketball for the Golden State Warriors. 

“Cam Spencer is a standout player, he was practicing all year and it really showed in the championship game against Purdue,” Robb said. 

Each of these players left a lasting impact on the tournament with their standout performances.

 The 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament was a rollercoaster of emotions, showcasing the unpredictable nature of college basketball. UConn’s back-to-back championship win proves their status as a powerhouse, while players like Jared McCain, DJ Burns Jr., and Cam Spencer made a name for themselves with their standout performances. The only thing to do now since the tournament is over is wait for the next one.

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