All images from the NCAA March Madness website.
By Luke Shimer, staff writer
March Madness ‘21 delivered special moments for all college basketball fans. The upsets and overtime thrillers really shaped this year’s big show of the nation’s best teams.
The tournament, as usual, consisted of four regions with 16 teams per region. The men’s tournament took place in Indianapolis and started off with notable upsets in the Round of 64. These included No. 15 Oral Roberts beating No. 2 Ohio State 75-72 and No. 14 Abilene Christian beating No. 3 Texas 53-52. In the round of 32, Oral Roberts went on to upset Florida 81-78 to advance on to the Sweet 16, sweetness indeed for the four double-digit seeds that made it into that illustrious round. Those lucky four wereNo. 11 UCLA, No.11 Syracuse, No.12 Oregon State and No.15 Oral Roberts.
The Final Four featured Gonzaga, Baylor, Houston, and UCLA. The Baylor Bears then bested the Houston Cougars, winning 78-59 to advance to their first National Championship since 1950. The Gonzaga Bulldogs went on to defeat the UCLA Bruins 93-90 in overtime, winning that semifinal thrill-fest with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by freshman phenom Jalen Suggs.
In the National Championship, Baylor crushed Gonzaga 86-70, winning their first title in program history. Baylor point guard Jared Butler was named Most Outstanding Player after scoring 39 total points in the Final Four. The National Championship was Gonzaga’s first loss of the season after starting 31-0. The organizers of the tournament named a “tournament starting five” which showcased the top five players in each position. These five consisted of Baylor’s Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme, and UCLA’s Johnny Juzang. These players showed the most skill and talent in leading their teams through the competition.
The women’s tournament took place in San Antonio, and just like the men’s tournament, it consisted of four regions and 16 teams per region.
In the round of 64, No. 13 Wright State picked up their first ever win in the NCAA Tournament on Monday. They did it against the only team to bring down No. 1 UConn this year. The Raiders upset No. 4 Arkansas, marking the first time since 2012 that a top-four seed has lost in the first round. Angel Baker led Wright State with 26 points and 12 rebounds, including a three-pointer with 30 seconds left that secured them the win. Another team marking its first tournament win was No. 12 Belmont. The Bruins overcame a number of setbacks to bring down No. 5 Gonzaga 64-59. Destinee Wells was the key to the game for Belmont, leading the team with 25 points, seven assists and two rebounds. She was the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and became the first freshman named the OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player since 2011.
The Final Four consisted of Stanford, Connecticut, Arizona, and South Carolina. Stanford beat South Carolina, and Arizona defeated Connecticut in the semifinals. The Final Four concluded with Stanford beating Arizona 54-53 in the National Championship. Stanford guard Haley Jones was named Most Outstanding Player after scoring 41 total points in the Final Four. This has been such a crazy year and these tournaments were no exception bringing in so many ups and downs and scary moments.