Students react to the NCAA tournament


Baylor head coach Scott Drew hoists the National Championship Trophy after defeating #1 seed Gonzaga.

As Mark Paterson dribbled out the final seconds of the national championship, the Baylor Bears had officially defeated Gonzaga with a final score of 86-70, taking home their first NCAA men’s basketball championship and signifying an end to the NCAA tournament.

After the 2020 tournament was cancelled last March due to COVID concerns, the 2021 tournament certainly made up for it, with tons of awesome moments and amazing shots.

Teams like Abil Christian, Ohio, North Texas, and Oral Roberts all pulled off huge upsets in the first round of the tournament. #15 seed Oral Roberts advanced all the way to the Sweet Sixteen, with star players Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor leading the way.

“I am a UVA fan so losing to Ohio in the first round stung, although I really loved Ohio’s point guard Jason Prestons story, and he played awesome in that game,” sophomore Nicole Perez said.

The best underdog run of the tournament belonged to #11 UCLA, a historic program who faced a tough test in the tournament, starting in the First Four, and fighting all the way to the Final Four, taking down #1 seed Michigan on the way.

UCLA was led by breakout player Johnny Juzang, who averaged 16 points per game this season and was extremely efficient throughout the tournament for the Bruins. Juzang carried the offense for the team in their elite eight matchup against Michigan, putting up 28 points on 11-19 shots.

The run for UCLA ended in the final four against undefeated top team in the country Gonzaga with a score of 93-90 in OT. Juzang tied the game at 90 with 3 seconds on the clock in OT, before Gonzaga star point guard Jalen Suggs hit a game winning 3 pointer at the top of the key as time expired, sending Gonzaga to the national championship.

Although there were many teams who caught eyes with their success, others didn’t live up to the expectations that were set going into the tournament. Teams like Illinois, Iowa, and West Virginia all were top 3 seeds that went home in the second round.

Illinois, led by the duo of point guard Ayo Dosunmu and big man Kofi Cockburn were among the title favorites, before being knocked out by former Cinderella team Chicago Illinois. 

Iowa was led by the Wooden Award winner, which is given to the best player in college basketball, Luka Garza. Iowa fell to Oregon in the second round, despite Garzas 36 point effort in his final game as a Hawkeye.

“As a Maryland fan it was disappointing losing to Alabama in the second round, but it was cool to upset UConn in the first round and the tournament had lots of upsets in general which made it very entertaining,” senior Danny Salisbury said.

Despite not having packed crowds and full arenas, this tournament was action packed and everything we could ask of March Madness.