Featured Image: Emily Uzzle | Courtesy
The 2023 March Madness Tournament left viewers stunned due to major upsets in the early rounds.
It’s March and you know what that means, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, March Madness. Now between both the women’s and men’s tournaments there have been plenty of upsets, most of them have been on the men’s side.
So let’s start with the men, and the upsets started in the first round. No. 13 seed Furman University upset No. 4 seed University of Virginia (UVA) with a final score of 68-67. UVA has not won a tournament game since they won the National Championship back in 2019.
No. 15 seed Princeton took down No. 2 seed Arizona 59-55. But maybe the biggest surprise of the first round and maybe at the end of it all the biggest surprise of the whole tournament was No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) taking down No. 1 seed Purdue. FDU won 63-58.
The second round also had its fair share of upsets, starting with the defending national champions in No. 1 seed Kansas losing to No. 8 seed Arkansas 72-71. With that win, Arkansas advanced to the sweet 16.
Another upset was when No. 15 seed Princeton beat No. 7 seed Missouri to advance to the Sweet 16. It is their first Sweet 16 in nearly 60 years.
The last big upset in the second round was when No. 7 seed Michigan State University (MSU) beat No. 2 seed Marquette. MSU won 69-60 against the Big East tournament champions who are notorious for not doing well in the tournament.
The Sweet 16 was where we saw the last two No. 1 seeds in Alabama and Houston lose. First was Alabama who lost to No. 5 seed San Diego State University (SDSU) 71-64. SDSU advanced to the Elite 8 with their win. The last No. 1 seed to go down was Houston when they lost to No. 5 seed Miami (Fla), 89-71.
The Elite 8 also had some upsets, close games and controversial endings. The first upset was when No. 9 Florida Atlantic University (FAU) barely held on to beat No. 3 seed Kansas State with a 79-76 victory. FAU won the east region and advanced to the final four. The Owls, who had never won a single NCAA tournament game, advanced to the final four. In my opinion they deserve the title of Cinderella team for this tournament.
One of the more controversial moments in this round came at the end of the Creighton and San Diego State game. It came down to the final seconds and San Diego State won 57-56.
The other upset this round of the tournament was when No. 5 seed University of Miami (Fla.) upset the highest remaining seed in No. 2 Texas. Miami (Fla.) won 88-81. Now probably surprising to some but not to me was the No. 4 University of Connecticut (UConn) domination of No.3 seed Gonzaga. Some may have expected a closer game and it was quite the opposite, No. 4 seed UConn won the game 82-54.
The National Championship game was not nearly as exciting as titles games from the past. No. 5 San Diego State came into the game needing a miracle to pull off the upset over No. 4 UConn, the hottest team in the tournament. SDSU made it interesting at first and then towards the end of the first half UConn took control. SDSU did pull within eight towards the end of the second half but it wasn’t enough and UConn won 76-59.
So the main surprise for the women’s tournament in my opinion is the fact that two No.1 seeds got knocked out so early in the tournament. Not only did No. 1 seed Indiana and Stanford lose in the round of 32 but they lost on their home court. During this women’s tournament, the top 4 seeds in each region hosted the first two rounds on their home court, which is different from the men’s tournament.
No. 1 seed Indiana lost to No. 9 seed Miami (Fla.), Miami (Fla.) won 70-68. The other No. 1 seed to go down in the second round was Stanford when they lost on their home court in Stanford, Calif. Stanford lost to No. 8 seed Ole Miss 54-49 to advance to their first Sweet 16 in 16 years.
The next upset is sad to me because my parents and I love Villonova. I nearly cried when they lost to Miami (Fla.) in the Sweet 16. Villanova lost 70-65 but not without trying. Villanova came back from a 21 point deficit, but in the end it was not enough and Miami Fla. went on to make their first Elite 8 in school history.
One of the biggest upsets in my opinion was when No. 3 seed Ohio State beat No. 2 seed UConn to advance to their first Elite 8 since 1993. Ohio State won the game 73-61. Ohio State’s win snaps UConns 14-year final four streak and their 16-year elite eight streak.
Jumping to the semi final games, the first semi final was between No. 3 Louisiana State University (LSU) and No.1 Virginia Tech. While some people might see it as an upset, the way Virginia Tech played, they didn’t play like they were the No. 1 seed. With that being said, Virginia Tech did have a lead going into the fourth quarter but they let LSU come all the way back to win the game 79-72.
Now the second semi final was the one I was looking forward to the most. No. 2 Iowa against the defending national champions No. 1 seed South Carolina. I kept saying after the Elite 8 that the only team that could beat South Carolina was Iowa and they did just that. They were led by their junior guard Caitlin Clark who put up 41 points and was perfect from the free throw line making all 11 attempts. No. 2 Iowa won 77-73 to advance to the national championship game.
The national championship game was wild at the start but then LSU got a lead late in the second quarter and never let it up. The referees were blowing their whistle like it was nothing and there were fouls getting called left and right on both sides of the floor. The game may not have gone the way I was hoping it would since LSU won 102-85 but it was the first national title for the LSU Tigers, led by tournament Most Valuable Player, forward Angel Reese.
I mentioned her earlier but Iowa guard Caitlin Clark made a lot of history during the NCAA tournament. She became the first person in women’s NCAA tournament history to have back to back 40 point games. Clark scored 41 points against South Carolina, the most points scored in semi final history. Clark had 60 assists during her 6 games in the NCAA tournament, setting a new record by 10. Clark set the record for most made three pointers in a championship game with 8. Lastly she had 193 points during the NCAA tournament, a new record.
By Colette Kearney