Men’s and Women’s College Basketball March Madness


Kylie Richardson

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or the NCAA, holds March Madness annually for the men’s and women’s college basketball associations. The NCAA tournament is a single-game elimination played at the end of over 60 teams’ seasons to determine the sole winner. In 2023, the Selection Committee selected 68 men’s and women’s teams, ranking all college teams 1 through 68. Those teams are then put on a bracket where anyone can create their own to bet money on which teams advance. Before the rounds actually begin, there’s what’s called a Play-In/First Four played before the Round of 64 in order to determine the final four teams to join the NCAA tournament. The 1st round is the round of 64, then there’s a sweep of half the teams that advance to the round of 32. Then, after half of the 32 is eliminated comes the Sweet 16, then the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and then to the Holy Grail of the NCAA tournament is the National Championship of the finishing two teams that have successfully wiped out the rest of their competitors. Personally, I think this was one of the most unexpected results of any March Madness tournament I’ve seen. It’s common to frequently see top schools like Duke, Kansas, or Villanova take the trophy and the smaller underdogs get immediately eliminated. Not this time! Teams like San Diego State University and Florida Atlantic University came out of nowhere, shocking the nation during this year’s men’s basketball tournament. I mean, Arkansas beating Kansas? If you know basketball, you know how crazy this sounds. The #1 seed Purdue getting knocked out in the first round by #16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson? My jaw was on the floor the entire game. Did anyone even know FAU existed? I didn’t, but they came and shocked the world after making it to the final four but were beaten by SDSU. The final two teams came down to UCONN and San Diego State University, and though UCONN took a large lead early on, which was pretty much expected (but who knows after the shock endured throughout the entire tournament), it was incredible to see the underdogs take control of the NCAA this tournament. As a Duke fan, it definitely hurt seeing my team get out quickly, but the excitement of the perpetual underdog story that went on during this year’s madness made up for my heartbreak. With a final score of 76-59, UCONN defeated SDSU to win the national title. 

For the women of the NCAA tournament, the shock of the men’s underdog teams matched up with the intensity of this year’s women’s tournament. It’s common that the men’s basketball tournament is watched way more than the women’s tournament, but when players like Caitlin Clark and Paige Bueckers came into the spotlight, basketball watchers around the country turned their heads to the women. Suddenly, Caitlin Clark took the country by storm after showing what an amazing player she is and how entertaining women’s basketball is. She really is an unbelievable power for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Caitlin Clark led her team to the National Championship, and although her team lost 85-102 to the Louisiana State Tigers, she dropped 30 points showing the world what a powerhouse she really is. In the Hawkeyes’ previous game in the Final Four against the #1 seed South Carolina, Caitlin Clark dropped 41 points alone, leading her team to a 77-73 win. That’s more than half the points, making history in women’s basketball. The 21-year-old star dropped a total of 191 points in the tournament and scored 41 points in back-to-back games making her the first time someone has ever had consecutive 40-point games in the history of women’s basketball. She is incredible to watch, scoring from almost any angle. Luckily for the basketball lovers of the world, Clark will be returning to Iowa for her Senior year, hopefully leading them to another March Madness tournament, and this time, claiming the throne she so desperately deserves. 

Congratulations to the men’s UCONN basketball team and the women’s LSU basketball team on their wins at the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. This was an unforgettable tournament and outcome and hopefully, it only goes up from here! See you all at next year’s March Madness!