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The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide


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Men’s March Madness Breakdown: UCONN goes back-to-back, NC State makes miracle run

Christiana Vucea
March Madness began on Tuesday, March 19 with the first four games and concluded on April 6 and 8 with the final four games.

The college men’s basketball tournament, March Madness, was seen as a letdown in the eyes of many. The tournament seemed to be completely outshined by the women’s tournament, which showcased phenoms Catilin Clark and Paige Bueckers and the final had over 18.9 million people tune in. 

The first round, the round of 64, consisted of 11 upsets, highlighted by 14-seed Oakland’s epic win over No. 3 seed Kentucky and 13-seed Yale’s crazy win over fourth-seeded SEC tournament champion Auburn. Although the first round was highlighted by 11 upsets, the rest of the tournament had only 8 combined upsets after. Jack Gohlke of Oakland was the standout in the first two rounds scoring 32 points in their first-round win and 22 in the second-round loss. He knocked down 16 out of 37 three-point attempts, an outstanding 43 percent efficiency from behind the arc. 

Third-seeded Kentucky’s embarrassing first-round defeat capped off an almost 10 year tournament drought for now-former head coach John Callipari. Calipari’s and Kentucky’s “one and done” philosophy of freshmen playing for one season and then declaring for the NBA draft clearly hasn’t been able to translate into tournament wins as of the last 10 years. Kentucky has a pitiful 1-4 record in the last five tournament appearances highlighted by losses to 15-seed Saint Peter’s in 2022 and this year’s loss to 14-seed Oakland.

The Final Four and the tournament as a whole seemed to be dominated by freakishly athletic big men. Two-time Wooden Award winner Zach Edey stole the show with ridiculous stat lines and an average points per game of 29.5. DJ Burns Jr., starting center for 11-seed NC State, also dominated opponents with clean post moves and averaged just over 16 points per game in the tourney. Alabama Crimson Tide center Grant Nelson, was unstoppable in their Sweet Sixteen upset of top-seeded North Carolina, dropping 24 points and snagging 12 rebounds. Donavon Klingan, 7 foot starting big man and projected NBA lottery pick, helped UCONN to win back-to-back national championships for the first time since 2006 and 2007 Florida Gators. 

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Although the tourney had a spectacular level of play, it seemed from the beginning that the No. 1 seed defending national champions Huskies were guaranteed to win the championship. The Huskies posted a +140 point differential and won all six of their tournament games by over 13 points. Last year the tournament seemed to be highlighted by “Cinderella” teams like 16-seed FDU, 15-seed Princeton and No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic. This year, on the other hand, the only Cinderella team was 11-seed NC State. The Wolfpack only made the tournament because of their spectacular ACC championship run where they beat North Carolina, Virginia and Duke. They then carried this remarkable run into the tournament where they upset No. 6 seed Texas Tech, No. 2 seed Marquette and No. 4 seed Duke to make the Final Four where their historic run was halted by 7 foot 4-inch big man Edey. 

Last year’s tournament had a whopping three buzzer beaters while on the other hand, this year’s tourney only had one and it came in the first round. The buzzer-beater came in the round of 64, when 10-seed Colorado Buffaloes guard KJ Simpson knocked down a long two-point basket to upset No. 7 seed Florida. 

Overall, the level of play and the skills of the players have increased over the last couple of years, but this year’s tournament seemed to be disappointing and less entertaining for many fans compared to years past.


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About the Contributors
Gideon Leshner
Gideon Leshner, Sports Writer
Gideon Leshner is a junior at Richard Montgomery High School. He is writing for the Sports section of the Tide for the third straight year. He plays Varsity baseball at RMHS and enjoys doing crosswords in his free time.
Christiana Vucea
Christiana Vucea, Graphics Editor
Christiana Vucea is a senior and an editor for the graphics section this year! She has been doing graphics since freshman year and is excited for new features coming to the Tide this year. When she’s not doodling something, she can be found either sleeping or stressing over physics homework.