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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

March Madness: Three Things to Remember


March Madness. The epitome of American sports. Every year, 68 college basketball teams from all corners of America come together for one single tournament. There are Cinderella stories and blue blood rivalries. Huge upsets and continued dominance. No matter the year, March Madness continues to be one of the most exciting sporting events in the world. This year was no different, and here are the three best moments, in case you missed them.

Michigan State Takes Down Duke in the Elite Eight

Michigan State is always highly regarded as one of the best teams in the Big Ten, if not the country. They have produced numerous NBA talents including Magic Johnson and Draymond Green and are coached by legend Tom Izzo.

This year they had an easy road to the Elite Eight, winning every game by double digits. They were matched up against Duke, a squad who has been touted to have one of the best college basketball lineups of all time. Ever since reeling in the top three players in the 2018 recruiting class, they were compared to Michigan’s Fab Five of the 1990s.

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Despite all the hype, Duke’s path to the Elite Eight was not an easy one. Following their blowout win over North Dakota State, they struggled in their next two games, winning by a combined three points.

Their Elite Eight matchup with Michigan State was no easy task. Led by star point guard Cassius Winston, the Big Ten champions were hungry for their 10th Final Four. Missed free throws and poor stretches of play left the Blue Devils fighting for the win until the final seconds, when Winston dribbled past ball-hawking defenders to run out the clock and shock the world, winning 68-67.

The headlines the next day bashed Duke for failing to capitalize on the opportunity to reach their 17th Final Four with their star-studded lineup. This matchup will be remembered forever and Duke’s failure to reach the Final Four will always overshadow the play of Michigan State.

Carsen Edwards Takes Over

Purdue University is one of the most consistent teams in all of college basketball. They never seem to disappear from the spotlight and they make the tournament almost every year. While usually lacking star players, their team-oriented style of play has molded the Purdue basketball identity and ensured their success.

However, this year, one player changed the course of history for Purdue and led them on an extended run in the tournament. Carsen Edwards, the point guard out of Houston, Texas came to Purdue in 2016 and immediately made an impact. His three-point shooting and ability to take over in late game situations were his defining factors, and in his return in 2018, he could only get better.

His dominant stat line of 24.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and about 3 assists per game helped Purdue win 23 conference games and enter the tournament as a No. 3 seed.

This was when Carsen Edwards went from great to spectacular, breaking records and taking Purdue all the way to the Elite Eight. He averaged seven made three-pointers per game on his way to averaging 34.8 points per game, catching the eyes of the basketball world.

In their Elite Eight loss to the University of Virginia, he scored 42 out of Purdue’s 75 total points. He took over March Madness and made a name for himself on a national stage. Not many players have dominated March Madness like Carsen Edwards, and his record-breaking tournament will be remembered for a long time.

UVA Puts The Haters Behind Them  

The story of last year’s March Madness, the University of Virginia (UVA) falling to University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). It was the first time a No. 1 seed lost to a No. 16 seed in March Madness history and going into this year, all eyes were on UVA. Despite Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and projected NBA lottery pick De’Andre Hunter returning for the season, college basketball fans everywhere doubted them.

Putting the pressure aside, UVA dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and entered March Madness as the No. 1 seed. Their first matchup was against No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb, and they struggled throughout the game. The first half was sloppy and after going down by 14 points, memes and backlash flooded the internet. UVA picked it up in the second half, handily winning 71-56, avoiding another embarrassing upset.

They slid past the University of Oklahoma in the second round, but struggled in the Sweet Sixteen against Oregon, winning by four points. A buzzer beater to tie the game at the end of regulation against Purdue by Mamadi Diakite and a pair of questionable calls at the end of their Final Four matchup against Auburn led them to the championship game, where they faced Big 12 champion Texas Tech.

The game was low scoring in the first half, though the second half was full of back and forth play leading to overtime with the game tied at 68 points. Clutch free throws by UVA and unlucky misses by Texas Tech iced the game for the Cavaliers, and exactly 388 days after their downfall versus UMBC, they went from rock bottom to national champions.

By Anders Westermann

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