How March Madness Lived Up to Its Name

Simon Bleier '24, Contributing Writer

If you do not know already, the pinnacle college basketball event concluded recently: March Madness. This tournament consisted of 68 Division I basketball teams from schools nationwide. All of the teams played in one single-elimination bracket to crown a champion.

It is safe to say that this year’s tournament was unprecedented. And here’s why:

*This tournament included only the second win for a 16-seed in tournament history with Fairleigh Dickinson’s improbable victory over 1-seed Purdue in the first round.

*Princeton, a 15-seed, made it to the Sweet Sixteen as the fourth 15-seed in tournament history to be one of the final 16. Even more remarkable, this was the third consecutive season where a 15-seed accomplished this feat.

*This tournament was the first year where all 1-seeds (Houston, Purdue, Kansas, and Alabama) were eliminated before the elite eight.

*The added seed total of the Final Four: UConn (4), San Diego State (5), Miami (5), and FAU (9)—is 23, which marks the second-highest total since seeding was introduced in 1978.

*FAU reached its first-ever Final Four and became the fifth 9-seed to make it that far.

*It was the first tournament in the past 15 years with no No. 1 seeds in the Final Four.

*It was the first time since 1997 (Arizona) a four-seed (UConn) won March Madness, and only the fourth time a four-seed has made it to the final game.

Despite all this madness, the championship game between San Diego State and UConn was the least viewed ever.

What caused this madness?

One explanation could be that the tournament was riddled with quality teams and no massive favorites. Teams bounced around in the rankings throughout the season, and there were never definitive top-five teams leading into the tournament.

Also, the new transfer and NIL rule changes played a significant role. Many of the teams that went far in the tournament contained many transfers. The rules allowed no-name teams like FAU and San Diego State to recruit big-time experienced players and have them make an immediate impact. This talent spread contributed to the tournament’s balanced, competitive, and unpredictable nature.

This tournament might not have concluded with the biggest names in college basketball; however, it was nothing short of incredible and will go down in history as one of the most memorable tournaments.

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