March Madness

Coveted NCAA tournament comes to a close


Photo by TNS

Head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Lady Tigers poses after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85 during the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game at American Airlines Center on April 02, 2023, in Dallas, Texas. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/TNS)

Story by Kailyn Williams, Sports Editor

March Madness is a coveted tournament across college athletics. Sixty-eight teams for both women’s and men’s basketball from across the nations compete for the national championship for the entire month of March. 

The NCAA released rankings before March Madness play took action, setting the stage for the tournament to start. 

On the men’s side of things, the NCAA put the University of Houston in the top of their rankings, over UCLA and Kansas both, followed by Purdue and Marquette, before the start of selection Sunday March 12, 2023. The men’s tournament began on March 14, 2023, and the championship was held April 3, 2023. 

For the women, South Carolina reigned supreme, nursing an undefeated record of 32-0 with the one seed going into the tournament. Indiana trailed with the number two ranking, followed by Utah, LSU and Maryland.

The qualifying round for the men’s bracket was shocked when the Razorbacks of Arkansas defeated Kansas.

The Razorbacks, being the underdogs, prevailed in the final seconds of the second half, securing their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen round of the tournament. 

“Beating the last two number one seeds was special, but this time meant a little more because it was such a big upset,” avid Razorback fan Samuel Cody said. “I’ve been watching Arkansas since I can remember, and this was one of the best moments in Razorback sports I’ve been able to witness.”

Arkansas’ win put them in place to face the UConn Huskies Thursday, Mar. 23, at 6:15 p.m.

On the men’s side of the bracket, six of the top ten of the AP 25 rankings still danced after two rounds: Alabama (with the number one ranking), Houston, Texas, UCLA, Gonzaga and UConn. 

Alabama continued proving their dominance in the Sweet Sixteen qualifying round against Maryland, beating them by 22 points 73-51. 

The Sweet Sixteen round exiled eight teams from the tournament, leaving only the Elite Eight left for competition.

I’m super happy for the team, for the program, but this was bigger than me.”

— LSU forward Angel Reese

Arkansas’s season reign ended abruptly Thursday, Mar. 23 after running into a stiff UConn offense, losing 65-88.

A highlight of Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen round came in the Michigan State and Kansas State game. Michigan State tied the game in the final seconds of regulation time with a made three pointer. Despite the effort of the Spartans, Kansas State won in overtime with a final score of 98-93. 

The Wildcats’ victory was led by senior Markquis Nowell, who broke the assist record at Madison Square Garden on a hurt ankle.

The advancing teams from Thursday’s side of the bracket consisted of Florida Atlantic, Kansas State, UConn and Gonzaga.

On Friday, San Diego State pulled off another shock for the basketball community when they dropped the number one seed Alabama with a score of 71-64, advancing them to the Elite Eight. 

The rest of the men’s Elite Eight round consisted of San Diego State, Creighton, Miami and Texas.

San Diego topped Creighton in a nail biter, with a score of 57-56, sending them to the Final Four.

The semi finalists round featured Sad Diego taking on Florida Atlantic, and UConn facing off against Miami. With multiple top seeds out of the running as the tournament comes to a close, UConn remained projected to be NCAA Champion.

San Diego defeated FAU in the Final Four, along with UConn running over Miami, advancing them both to the championship match up.

Ultimately, UConn prevailed in the championship game over San Diego, with a final of 76-59.

On the womens’ side, South Carolina continued dominating, easily punching their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen with a 76-45 victory over South Florida. 

South Carolina has clung to a high ranking all season. Led by 6’5 senior Aliyah Boston, the Gamecocks pushed their undefeated season record to 34-0, taking down LSU and their powerhouse Angel Reese, going into their round three game against UCLA. 

LSU also has been a strong contender all season, with their only conference loss coming from the Gamecocks. The Tigers boasted a 30-2 overall record going into their Sweet Sixteen game against number two ranked Utah. 

South Carolina took on UCLA in their Sweet Sixteen game, resulting in a 16 point victory of 59-43 and a spot in the Elite Eight against number two ranked Maryland Monday, Mar. 27. 

In the women’s Final Four round, Iowa shocked the tournament defeating the season long number one ranked South Carolina with a score of 77-73.

LSU advanced to the finals with a 79-72 victory over Virginia Tech.

In the finals, LSU defeated Iowa with a score of 102-85, the most viewed game in women’s college history. The game also stemmed a lot of drama in lieu of the outcome and actions within the game, however, LSU proudly reigned as national champions for the first time in program history.