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Men's March Madness Has Begun

Men's March Madness Has Begun
Elliot Rosen '25, & Benjy Pastor '25

This past week has been nothing short of entertaining and intense. We have already seen plenty of upsets already and we are just starting. It’s safe to say that March Madness is in full swing. 

Round of 64 notable games:

#14 Oakland vs #3 Kentucky
This was by far the most surprising game that came out of the first round. Kentucky was supposed to absolutely destroy Oakland with several members of the team being projected lottery picks in next year’s draft. Oakland came out strong and busted several brackets with their 80-76 upset. With this game, we saw the birth of yet another March Madness legend with Oakland’s Jack Gohlke. Gohlke scored 32 points with 10 three pointers. Immediately after this game, he was bombarded with NIL deals and put out a merch line. 

#12 Grand Canyon vs #5 Saint Mary’s
Coming into this game, Saint Mary’s was looking incredibly strong after winning the West Coast Conference. There were some experts predicting an upset in this game and they were right on. Grand Canyon put up 75 to Saint Mary’s 65. There were more GC fans at the game because it was played in Spokane, Washington, giving the team a slight advantage. 

#11 Duquesne vs #6 BYU
This was the second game on Day 1 of the tournament, so to see an upset happen right away was devastating for the people that filled out brackets. I personally didn’t think BYU was any good even though they spent most of the year as a ranked team. There were several lead changes, but Duquesne ended out on top winning 71-67.

#11 NC State vs #6 Texas Tech
Texas Tech had a brutal draw for their first round matchup. NC State was coming off a huge ACC tournament win, and were raging hot. Led by fan favorite, DJ Burns Jr., the Wolfpack were able to keep their momentum with a 80-67 upset. 

#13 Yale vs #4 Auburn
Other than Kentucky falling to Oakland, this was the most surprising upset. Auburn was looking really good in their last couple of regular season games, and many fans were shocked by how low their ranking was for the tournament. Yale came out strong and were able to keep the score close the entire game. They ended up narrowly beating Auburn 78-76.

Round of 32 notable games:
#1 Houston vs #9 Texas A&M
Texas A&M capped off a stellar season with a March Madness bid. The Aggies defeated Nebraska by 16 and advanced to the round of 32. Texas A&M met their match in #1 seed Houston. This game was one for the books, producing several lead changes, overtime, and a buzzer beater. After being down for most of the second half, the Aggies went on a run and hit a three pointer to put the game into overtime. Houston ended out on top winning 100-95. 

#6 Clemson vs #3 Baylor
The Tigers were not highly praised by several experts, but Clemson has continued to prove them wrong after pulling off a big upset against #3 seed, Baylor. Clemson emerged victorious, 72-64, thanks to a stellar 20 point performance from Chase Hunter. This is going to be the Tigers’ first appearance in the Sweet 16. 

#12 James Madison vs. #4 Duke
After upsetting #5 seed Wisconsin in the first round, James Madison faced an even tougher opponent in Duke. As expected, Duke blew them out. The team looked amazing being led by freshman Jared McCann who scored 30 points going 8/11 from the three point line. The final score was 93-55, which may seem as though this wasn’t that notable of a game, but this really put Duke on the map as a potential contender. 

Sweet 16 Matchups to Watch:

#1 UCONN vs. #5 San Diego State
(2023 Championship game rematch)
Thursday 3/28 @7:39

#1 Houston vs #4 Duke
Thursday 3/29 @9:39

#3 Illinois vs. #2 Iowa State
Thursday 3/28 @10:09

Teams to watch:

#1 seed UConn
#2 seed Arizona
#11 seed NC State
#5 seed Duke 
#3 seed Illinois
#1 seed North Carolina
#2 seed Tennessee

Players to Watch
DJ Burns- NC State 
Donovan Clingan- UConn 
Armando Bacot- UNC 
RJ Davis- UNC 
Zach Edey- Purdue 
Terrance Shannon- Illinois 
Ryan Kalkbrenner- Creighton 
Dalton Knecht- Tennessee 

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