NCAA Tournament: Madness Through The Elite Eight

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NCAA

The NCAA Tournament is now done with the Elite Eight; there are only four teams left in the big dance: #1 seed Kansas, #2 seed Duke, #2 seed Villanova, and #8 seed North Carolina.

Andrew Bernson, Freelancer

The NCAA Tournament is now done with the Elite Eight; there are only four teams left in the big dance: #1 seed Kansas, #2 seed Duke, #2 seed Villanova, and #8 seed North Carolina. 

The Kansas Jayhawks will face off against a well-coached Villanova Wildcats team. I like the Jayhawks here due to their explosive athleticism and their elite fast-break offense. I don’t believe Villanova will be able to hang with Kansas, so they should take care of them with ease. We have never seen a Duke vs UNC matchup in the NCAA Tournament. This is surprising, as this is often considered the biggest rivalry in college basketball. 

As much as I want to see North Carolina pull off the upset, I believe Duke will win the game, mainly due to the fact that it is Coach K’s last season with the program; the referees will most likely be in favor of the Blue Devils and give them every edge they can. Now, enough with my predictions of the future, let’s get to the events that have already played out.

There have been some very surprising losses so far, including, in my opinio, the best college basketball program of all time: the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Bulldogs saw their fate in the Sweet Sixteen when they suffered a heartbreaker to the Arkansas Razorbacks. The refs were absolutely horrid in this game; they called many questionable fouls on future No.1 pick Chet Holgrem, which caused Holgrem to foul out of the game. This eventually led to the Bulldogs falling short of their goal, losing 68-74. 

Another #1 seed to go down in the Sweet Sixteen were the Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats played a fierce Houston Cougars team that played like their lives were on the line every single play. Coach Kelvin Sampson of the Cougars preaches excellence in the defensive category, demanding that Houston play with extreme effort on the defensive end. The Wildcats just couldn’t handle the Cougar’s defense and suffered a 12 point loss by the score of 72-60. Houston would go on to lose to Villanova in a great game in the Elite Eight, 50-44.

Saint Peters is the first #15 seed team to reach the Elite Eight. Coached by Shaheen Holloway, this team had faith they could beat anyone they matched up against; they then quickly evolved into America’s favorite team.”

— Andrew Bernson

Lastly, perhaps the biggest story of the tournament is the Saint Peter’s Peacocks. Coming in as a #15 seed, many thought this small school team was a first-round exit like many high seeded teams. 

The Peacocks, however, would go on to defeat the #7 seed Murray State Racers in the Round of 32, then stun #3 seed Purdue in the Sweet Sixteen. They would eventually come short of their ultimate goal of a National Championship, losing to #8 seed North Carolina in the Elite Eight. Although they stopped short, the Peacocks have cemented their place in history. 

Saint Peters is the first #15 seed team to reach the Elite Eight. Coached by Shaheen Holloway, this team had faith they could beat anyone they matched up against; they then quickly evolved into America’s favorite team.