Photo by: Ben Hershey on Unsplash
March Madness is well underway and this year we have already seen the big teams dominate and some unsuspected underdogs win games. Here are the three most significant stories of the tournament thus far.
No. 1 seed Alabama dominate the first two rounds and advance to Sweet 16
The Alabama Crimson Tide have proven why they are the favourite to win this tournament. The first two rounds showed nothing but a warm up for the Tide as they won in convincing fashion, beating Texas A&M-CC (16) 96-75 in round one and Maryland (8) 73-51.
Alabama is set to play their toughest game of the tournament against fifth-seed San Diego State in their sweet 16 matchups on March 24.
No. 15 seed Princeton makes the Sweet 16
The Princeton Tigers have made a stunning run to the Sweet 16 in this year’s March Madness tournament, causing a lot of buzz in the college basketball world. The team, which was largely overlooked by fans and analysts, pulled off an upset victory in round one against the two-seed Arizona, winning 59-55.
They then proceeded to pull off another upset in round two, beating Missouri in dominant fashion, 78-63, to advance to the sweet 16. This makes them just the third team in March Madness history to advance to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed. The other two teams to do it were Florida Gulf Coast in 2013 and Oral Roberts in 2021.
Some Princeton players have stepped up on the biggest stage including guard Ryan Langborg, Tosan Evbuomwan and Blake Pierce. Through two games the three players have combined for 56.2 per cent of points, 60 per cent of assists and 47.9 per cent of rebounds on the Tigers.
They are set to match up against the Creighton Blue Jays on March 24, where they will look to continue their historic run and be the first 15th seed to reach the Elite eight.
No. 1 seed Purdue falls to No. 16 FDU in round 1
To finish off an already crazy round one, Purdue lost 63-58 to FDU who were heavy underdogs heading into the game and the tournament. The small school located in Teaneck, New Jersey pulled off just the second 16 vs 1 upset in March Madness history, the other coming in 2018 when UMBC beat Virginia.
The win was not due to a certain player as FDU played great defence not giving Purdue many quality shots and converted on the offensive floor with six of their nine players making at least three buckets.
In their second matchup of the tournament, FDU failed to continue the Cinderella story, falling to the Florida Atlantic Owls 78-70. The Owls team defence underperformed compared to their previous game and despite a near double-double from guard Demetre Roberts, FDU would be heading home.
The 2023 March Madness tournament has already given us some of the most exciting and unpredictable moments in college basketball. The dominance of top-seeded Alabama has been impressive, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Brandon Miller.
The underdog stories of Princton’s historic Sweet 16 run and FDU’s upset over Purdue have captured the attention of fans worldwide. As the tournament progresses, it will be interesting to see if any more surprises are in store and which team will ultimately come out on top.