2016 March Madness one for the ages

March 29, 2016 — by Apoorv Kwatra and Trevor Leung

Everyone loves a good Cinderella story. Fortunately, this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament has provided more than enough of those.

The annual men’s college basketball tournament that everyone around the globe stops to watch is nearing completion, and it is as exciting as it has ever been.

With bracket busters upon bracket busters, the 2016 NCAA March Madness tournament has featured almost as many upsets as expected results, leading to one of the most unexpected advances in college basketball history.

No. 15-seeded Middle Tennessee defeated No. 2-seeded Michigan State 90-81 in a thriller; No. 11-seeded Wichita State shocked No. 6-seeded Arizona 65-55; No. 12-seeded Yale avoided a No. 5-seeded Baylor comeback to hold on 79-75; No. 5-seeded Indiana held off one of the most talented players in all of college basketball, Jamal Murray, to surprise No. 4-seeded Kentucky by a score of 73-67 and make it into the Sweet Sixteen.

After the first round, not a single perfect bracket out of 13.02 million total entries in the whole world remained in ESPN’s NCAA March Madness Tournament Challenge. All the aforementioned upsets have contributed to this surprising statistic, with literally nobody predicting all 32 first round games correctly.

With the Final Four and National Championship game remaining, there is far more excitement to come.

All four No. 1 seeds still remained in the Sweet Sixteen, a feat that definitely does not always occur. It was quite feasible that they could play each other in the Final Four and the Championship, leading to some of the most talented games ever played in college basketball. Unfortunately, or maybe even fortunately, upsets occurred, leading to lower seeds making the Final Four.

Despite the top heavy nature of the bracket this year, many Cinderella teams have made it very far in the tournament. Gonzaga (seeded No. 11) played Syracuse (seeded No. 10) in the Sweet Sixteen, ensuring that at least one team seeded No. 10 or higher will make the Elite Eight. Once in the Elite Eight, anything can happen. After all, in 1985, Villanova won the entire tournament as an No. 8 seed. Gonzaga and Syracuse certainly have reasons to be optimistic about their future in the tournament. Also, Notre Dame (seeded No. 6) and Wisconsin (seeded No. 7) faced off in the Elite Eight. This year’s tournament is just aching for upsets.

While the four No. 1 seeds, Kansas, Oregon, North Carolina, and Virginia, were favored to win it all, only the Tar Heels survived to the Final Four. With the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight completed, even more exciting games have await. No. 10-seeded Syracuse surprised everyone and made the Final Four, with their 13 regular season losses tied for the most losses for any Final Four team in NCAA March Madness history. Syracuse will face UNC on Saturday and try to continue their Cinderella story.

No. 2-seeded Villanova will square off against No. 2-seeded Oklahoma on the same day.

The NCAA Championship Game is now guaranteed to have one No. 2 seed and either a No. 1 seed in UNC or a No. 10 seed in Syracuse. If Syracuse were to win its next two games, the team would become the lowest seeded team to ever win the championship.

This year’s NCAA March Madness tournament has provided upsets, bracket busters, Cinderella team and loads of fun. All of this proves once again why NCAA men’s basketball is the best tournament in all of sports.