College Basketball Update

As college football comes to a close, a new, and arguable more entertaining sport season rolls around.


Kevin Cole

This year, all levels of basketball will allow fans into the events.

UNC basketball has built a march madness dynasty. Can that dynasty carry to this year?

March 19, 2016 – The Villanova Wildcats are taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the final round of the March Madness basketball tournament. A hard fought-out 4 quarters of basketball leaves the Tar Heels down by 3 with 4.7 seconds to go. UNC’s star shooter, Marcus Paige, gets the ball to half court and after getting swarmed by defenders with nowhere to go, throws up one of the most impressive three pointers in basketball history. A more impressive one, however, would be Chris Jenkins’ buzzer-beater to bring home the national championship for Villanova in the following possession. The year of 2016 was just one of many greats in the long-term tradition of March Madness, and 2022 may have much more in store.

Due to COVID-19 issues, the 2020 March Madness tournament was cancelled, just before it started. This left the basketball world in shock, but more importantly, it left many players without a season. It was a stain on the legacy of the NCAA as a whole, as it was the first season without a tournament. However, some of the excitement would return next year as the tournament was cleared to take place in 2021. No fans would be allowed in to watch the games, but at least it gave the people something to watch. Fans in 2021 got to watch a series of upsets in the first round, such as 13 seeded North Texas, Ohio, 14 seeded Abilene Christian, and other low seeded teams such Rutgers and Maryland.

Players have a variety of ways to score in a basketball game. Most of the time, these points are scored by layups.  (Kevin Cole)

As the tournament progressed,  it looked as if it would be a normal, 1 or 2 seeded team finished as it came down to the elite 8 round. However, 11 seeded UCLA had other ideas. A series of upsets over top 2 teams Alabama and Michigan put them into the final four.  They would soon fall though, to undefeated, 31-0 Gonzaga. No team had gone undefeated in college basketball since Indiana in 1976.  As the championship game came around, people watched to see if the Bulldogs could break this 40+ year streak. However, as Baylor was up by 16 with a few minutes to go, it became clear this was not the team. And so the 2021 season of the March Madness was finished, entertaining as always, but not the same. There was no feeling of intensity or motivation, and the stadiums were quiet as ever with no crowds.

Now as we enter the 2022 season of basketball, the excitement is building up. The season kicked off a week ago, and many top teams have begun their normal starts. Dynasty teams such as Gonzaga, University of Connecticut, Memphis, Michigan, and Maryland are 2-0, and will probably maintain a solid record as the season progresses. Other programs are trying to make a name for themselves this year, such as Florida State and University of St. Bonaventure. But perhaps the most important aspect to look forward to in this years tournament is something else: spectators. For the first time in two years, the March Madness basketball tournament will have open admission to fans. Mask requirements are still up in the air, but the fact that stadiums will now be packed with roaring fans will give the tournament a feeling that it used to have: excitement.