A March Madness To Remember


The 82 year-old tradition of the Men’s NCAA March Madness Tournament continued this year as 64 teams arrived in Indianapolis to compete for the title of Division I National Champion. It had been two years since the last March Madness game – the thrilling 2019 Championship final in which Virginia defeated Texas Tech to be crowned National Champions. With the interruption caused by COVID-19 coming to an end, college basketball fans watched their favorite teams take to the court once again.

Indeed, this year’s March Madness did not leave fans disappointed. There were a total of 20 upsets. The average number of upsets occurring in the NCAA March Madness tournament is only 13. The excitement began early on in the first round, as underdog teams such as Oral Roberts, Abilene Christian, Ohio University, and UCLA stunned fans, upsetting multiple higher-ranked teams including No. 2 seed Ohio State and No. 3 seed Texas. On the flip side, other powerhouse teams such as Gonzaga, Houston, and Baylor dominated in the first round, cementing their positions as strong contenders for the national title. 

Many more upsets took place in the second round, as star players such as Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs and Syracuse’s Buddy Boheim put up impressive performances. In the most prominent Cinderella story of the early rounds of the tournament, No. 15 seed Oral Roberts emerged victorious in overtime in the first round against No. 2 seed Ohio State. The Golden Eagles, who were expected to make it no further than the first round, went on to defeat No. 7 Florida in the second round before just falling short against Arkansas in the Sweet 16. In fact, the support for Oral Roberts was so strong that even at Hotchkiss there were multiple watch parties in the Student Center cheering them on.

In the end, the Final Four consisted of Baylor, Gonzaga, Houston, and UCLA. UCLA was the biggest surprise – going from competing against Michigan State in a play-in game (game where winner qualifies for the tournament) all the way to the fifth round of the tournament. However, the highlight of the Final Four was Jalen Suggs’ buzzer-beater in overtime against UCLA to send Gonazaga to the Championship. 

The Championship saw a showdown between No. 1 seeds Baylor and Gonzaga, with Gonzaga favored and just one game away from an unbeaten season. However, it was the Baylor Bears that came out victorious, handing Gonzaga its first loss, 86-70, and ending its season with an impressive 28-2 record. Guard Jared Butler was named the National Championship MVP, leading Baylor with 22 points and 7 assists. In a survey sent out to students prior to the game, over 80% of voters favored Gonzaga; only 12.5% percent believed Jared Butler would be named MVP.


When people hear March Madness, many of them will think about creating their own bracket to predict who will win each game. Warren Buffet famously offers one million dollars a year for life to anyone who creates a perfect bracket. This is no easy task, as there are 9.2 quintillion possibilities and it is difficult to predict unexpected upsets (such as North Texas over Purdue and Ohio over Virginia), making a perfect bracket incredibly difficult. After only the second round, no perfect brackets remained; indeed, only 0.025% of brackets worldwide correctly predicted the Final Four. 

Another highlight of March Madness is being able to see the future of basketball on the college stage. One standout player is Davion Mitchell. Mitchell is a 6’ 2’’, 205 pound guard whose extremely impressive showing in March Madness proved his ability to succeed in the NBA. Mitchell is very talented on both sides of the ball and is one of the best scorers at the basket for his size. He averaged around 14 points per game in the 2020-2021 season, and he showed his leadership skills while helping Baylor reach a national championship. Mitchell has proved that he will be a key asset to any NBA team who drafts him in this upcoming draft. 

From 64 teams to one, every team gave it all they had on the court in the hope they could make it to the next round. The 2021 March Madness Tournament will be remembered for its high-scoring games, wild outcomes, and many, many Cinderella stories.