The exciting NCAA tournament came to an end on Monday as the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Memphis Tigers in overtime to earn the school’s third National Championship. Here are some of my favorite stories and moments from the tournament.
Jayhawks — Tigers Chanpionship Game
This was definitely one of the most exciting games of the tournament. Both teams pushed the ball up the court offensively, making for a very fast-paced game. There were many lead changes, the largest lead being only 9 points. Speaking of 9 point leads, Memphis was leading Kansas by that amount with 2:12 left in the second half. The Jayhawks didn’t give up, though, and were able come back and tie the game at 63 with a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers with only 2.1 seconds left in regulation. It was truly one of the most exciting moments of basketball that I have seen in a while.
My other thoughts concerning this game turn to Memphis. I believe that Memphis lost the game, missing 4 of their last 5 free throws (and a number of other shots from the floor), which gave Kansas a chance to come back and tie, and then ultimately win, the game. They were absolutely helpless in overtime, and couldn’t anything to stop the Jayhawks. A record 38-2 is still pretty impressive though, almost as impressive as 18-1*.
Davidson and Stephen Curry
My favorite story of the tournament was Davidson, and the run that made, led by Steven Curry. It was exciting to watch them play and easy to get behind them as they continued to win. Steven Curry probably played better than any other single player in the tournament, scoring at least 30 points during the first three games of the tournament, and averaging over 30 points for the entire tournament. They ended up loosing to Kansas by two points, but still had a shot at the end to win it. I still wish that PTI’s April Fools joke was true.
This tournament, unlike other in the past, wasn’t plagued by upsets. There were a few upsets in the first round and a couple of 12 seeds to make it to the Sweet 16, but except for Davidson, West Virginia, and Michigan St. (as well as the aforementioned 12 seeds), every single 1, 2, 3, and 4 seed made it to the third round. The Final Four, as you know, was all No. 1 seeds, the first time in history that this has been done.
I like to see some good upsets, they are what make the NCAA tournament exciting. However, whenever Cinderella teams make it, say, to the Final Four, it can sometimes set up lopsided, boring games, which is why I sometimes enjoy when the “good teams” make it to the Final Four. Although, even with all four 1 seeds, both Final Four games were, surprisingly, very lopsided.
I think the game that surprised me the most was Kansas defeating North Carolina. The lead that Kansas had in the first half was ridiculous, and it’s a good thing that they didn’t let the Tar Heels get back in the game after playing sloppy basketball.
Also, I think that Tyler Hansbrough is overrated. He had a good regular season, but when it came to games that mattered (games where UNC wasn’t blowing teams out), he didn’t perform. I don’t think that he is going to do very well in the NBA. Most of his success was based on effort, but effort alone won’t make you successful in the NBA where there are so many talented players.
Being Big East biased, I was a little disappointed with the overall performance of Big East teams in the tournament. Out of the 8 that made it to the tournament (the most of any conference), only three made it to the Sweet Sixteen (Louisville, Villanova, West Virginia), and only Louisville made it to the Elite Eight. Though, I was more displeased by the performance of Pitt, especially after they won the Big East Championship. They have been disappointing the past few tournaments, but I high hopes in their team this year.
Overall, though, the tournament was very exciting and enjoyable. There plenty of great games and exciting finishes to hold my attention. The fact that my tournament bracket did so miserably is a good sign, I think.
Those are my thoughts on thoughts on this years tournament. What were your favorite moments of this years tournament?
Also, sorry that this a little belated. Finals are in a couple of weeks, so things are getting busy. Expect more infrequent posting.