The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Sidelines: March Madness

Princeton has shocked the nation by heading to the sweet 16. (Photo by José Luis Villegas for AP Photo)

As one of the sports editors at a school that was just 40 minutes away from setting an NCAA record by sending a team with the most losses to the March Madness tournament, who better to give their takes on the incredible tournament we’ve seen so far?

I’ll start with the most obvious. Fairleigh Dickinson, a school just 54 minutes from here, became the second school in the 84-year history of the NCAA tournament to beat a No. 1 seed as a 16-seed. This was a team that only made the tournament on a technicality thanks to the team that won its conference not being able to participate. Farleigh Dickinson went on to beat one of the Big Ten players of the year, 7-foot-4 Purdue center Zach Eday.

Almost across the board, the college basketball “blue bloods” have struggled. North Carolina and Villanova did not even make the tournament while Duke, Arizona, Baylor, Kentucky, Virginia and last year’s champion Kansas could not even reach the sweet 16.

“Blue bloods” Gonzaga, Texas and UCLA all still remain at large but all have played close games against lower-seeded opponents. One of the surprises of the tournament has been seventh-seed Michigan State winning two straight games, which included an upset of second-seed Marquette.

The true amount of parity in this tournament has been unprecedented with only seven of the top-12 seeds making it through the first two rounds of the tournament. No. 1 seeds Alabama and Houston, who have been the only true constants within the top five this season, have continued their dominance, breezing through inferior competition.

Alabama has done this despite their best player Brandon Miller being embroiled in a murder case. He was allegedly the person who supplied the gun that a teammate used in a shooting in January. It has become such a divisive situation that even head football coach Nick Saban is calling out the basketball team for continuing to let him play.

In addition, without the domination of most of the traditional basketball powers, teams that are tournament regulars but have struggled to make any real noise like San Diego State, Creighton, Xavier, Miami and Kansas State now have a real shot to succeed.

However, the main story of the tournament has been the 15-seed Princeton Tigers, upsetting the second-seed Arizona Wildcats and then blowing out 9-seed Missouri to become only the second 15-seed ever to advance to the sweet 16.

“I went out to Sacramento for the game, not expecting to stay the weekend,” sports editor for the Daily Princetonian Wilson Conn said. “Coach Henderson said something very interesting, talking about the Arizona win and how confident the team [was]. He said ‘we want to win six games here just like everybody else.'”

After 15-seed St. Peter’s made it all the way to the elite eight last year, the Tigers will look to do the same this year.

“I think the team was ecstatic, I mean none of them had ever played in March Madness before so I was surprised that they were able to calm down and stick together after that first round,” Conn said.

Prediction: After a five-day hiatus, the sweet 16 begins today. I think that this round is going to be the most significant in determining who is real and who is not within the many competitors still left. I hope that the Cinderella stories of Princeton, Florida Atlantic and Arkansas can continue but I think that the rest of the tournament will begin to weed out the fringe competitors in favor of a more chalked final four.

Final Four: Alabama, Michigan State, Houston and UCLA

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Charlie Berman, Sports Editor
VAP, TRELL, KEHD (cheast, stew, help)

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *