March Madness delivers madness with wild games

When March rolls around each year, we hope for warmer weather, the fragrant smell of flowers, and the arrival of spring. But, most importantly, we await the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, three weekends of madness when we watch the top 64 college teams face off and fall in love with a Cinderella, the little team that could. This year is no different.

The 2018 tournament saw records being broken and brackets being busted. For the first time in tournament history, a lowest-ranked 16th seed upset a no. 1 seed, after 135 losses. When the little-known University of Maryland–Baltimore County shocked the world by beating the overall no. 1 University of Virginia, we knew we were in for an amazing tournament.

But, even before the historic 74–54 blowout on March 16, other upsets captured the country. No. 13 University at Buffalo defeated another favorite, no. 3 University of Arizona, and no. 11 Loyola University Chicago made a buzzer-beating three-pointer to take the win over no. 6, University of Miami, giving the world a small taste of what was to come in terms of upsets.

The second round brought even more madness, with upsets ruling into the second weekend. No. 11 Syracuse toppled no. 2 Michigan State University, and no. 7 Texas A&M University handed defending national champions University of North Carolina a stunning 21-point loss, one of their worst ever in the tournament.

In the Sweet Sixteen, the upsets continued, with perennial favorites no. 5 University of Kentucky and no. 4 Gonzaga University falling to no. 9 Kansas State University and no. 9 Florida State University, respectively.

However, in the later rounds, staples of the tournament remain, in recent champions no. 2 Duke University, no.1 Villanova University, and no. 1 University of Kansas. Both teams have had a relatively breezy tournament so far as they battle for their spot in the Final Four.

Undoubtedly, the Cinderella of the tournament has been Loyola Chicago, a small, underrated basketball program. In their first three games against higher-ranked teams, the Ramblers won with exciting buzzer-beaters, playing their way into the hearts of basketball fans around the country.

But it is the 98-year- old nun, chaplain of the team Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, who has become the symbol of hope and joy for the team. From her bracket predicting the team only going to the Sweet Sixteen, to her name on custom-made Air Jordans, Sister Jean and the Ramblers have embodied everything we love about college basketball: fun, joy, and the unexpected.

As the teams move toward the championship, it is safe to say that the tournament has delivered everything we could’ve ever hoped for.