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Villanova Claims Title in Upset-Laden NCAA Tournament

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Villanova celebrates its second national championship.

Villanova celebrates its second national championship.

Villanova celebrates its second national championship.

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The NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament came to a close with Villanova winning its second title in the last three years with a 79-62 blowout over the Michigan, behind the stellar play of Donte DiVincenzo coming off the bench. His 31 points is the most ever in a title game coming off the bench in NCAA history. DiVincenzo was named the 2018 Final Four Most Outstanding Player after averaging 23 points in his Final Four appearance.

This March Madness was filled with many upsets busting many brackets early in the tournament. History was shattered when the sixteen-seed Maryland-Baltimore County trounced number one-seed Virginia 74-54 in the Round of 64.

Probably the most popular underdog of the tournament was Loyola University-Chicago. The Ramblers made it all the way to the Final Four with the help of the now famous Sister Jean, their 98-year-old team chaplain. Loyola-Chicago beat the University of Miami, Tennessee, and Nevada before a disappointing loss to Michigan in the Final Four.

Along the way, many disappointments occurred including losses by Arizona and Kentucky. Those teams were the four and five seeds respectively of the South Region. Arizona lost to the University of Buffalo 68-89, and its star player DeAndre Ayton later declared for the 2018 NBA draft. Maybe head coach Sean Miller should ask for his $100,000 back. Kentucky went further than Arizona as they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen; however, they were upset by Kansas State, the nine seed of the region, by 3 points.

Oklahoma was ranked as the ten-seed in the Midwest Region. They lost to the Rhode Island despite Trae Young’s 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists. Many believed that the Sooners would force an upset due to the deadliness of Young in every which way, but they fell short in the first round of the tournament.

Perennial powerhouse Duke was considered a favorite being a two-seed going into the tournament. They suffered a close loss in overtime in the Elite Eight to Kansas. The Jayhawks were unconscious from beyond the arc against Duke’s star-studded lineup. Kansas then lost to Villanova in the Final Four in a blow out. The Kansas squad looked like a completely different team as the Wildcats had complete control over the game the whole forty minutes.

Xavier was also a big disappointment as they lost in the Round of 32 to Florida State. Xavier led most of the game, but just could not pull out a win in the end as the Seminoles just looked like a much better team in the final minutes of the game.

On the other side of things, teams like Loyola-Chicago, UMBC, Kansas State, and Syracuse were all ranked 11, 16, 9, and 11 seeds respectively and each went much further than expected. The UMBC Retrievers became the first 16-seed to beat a one-seed in the NCAA men’s tournament history. Kansas State went on a huge run making it to the elite eight beating the Retrievers as well as Kentucky and Creighton along the way. Syracuse was incredible in the tournament as well, with their tough, defensive- minded style of play. Their stifling 2-3 zone defense was able to hold opponents to an average of 58 points with only one team, Duke, being able to break the 60-point margin.

This year’s tournament was a very exciting one. Loyola-Chicago made it all the way to the Final Four only losing to Michigan when the clock struck midnight. The games have also shown what an exciting NBA draft class is coming this year, headlined by Marvin Bagley III, DeAndre Ayton, and Trae Young.

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Villanova Claims Title in Upset-Laden NCAA Tournament