Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer
That’s all she wrote, folks! After a couple weeks of incredible basketball featuring shocking upsets, thrilling finishes and several humiliating blowouts, the 2018 version of the NCAA Tournament has come to a close with the Villanova Wildcats emerging as the national champion for the second time in three years with their dominating victory over the Michigan Wolverines by a final score of 79-52 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. I’ve watched the NCAA Tournament for most of my life and I don’t think I’ve seen a tournament like this.
The most dominating storyline of the tournament was a No. 16 seed, UMBC, upsetting a No. 1 seed, Virginia, for the first time. This is something that none of us thought we would ever see in our lifetime and Lord knows when it will happen again. What made UMBC’s victory even more impressive was just how dominating they really were, as their performance made the final score look worse than it indicated.
The next thing to talk about is Loyola-Chicago’s incredible run to the Final Four. The little school from the Windy City had not made it to the Final Four since the 1960s and hadn’t even made the tournament since the 1980s. But what made them possibly America’s college basketball sweethearts for this tournament was the air time of a 98-year old chaplain for the team, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt.
It was a sight to watch her reactions as her beloved Ramblers continued to find ways to pull it out. She was ever so faithful to her team and the Rambler’s opponents. It was something we will never forget.
Another thing to talk about is whether Villanova is a dynasty. I would not say so just yet. They are obviously a great team with experienced, well-coached players that just dominated a tournament in an era of one-and-dones, when they were supposed to get to the title game.
If they repeat next year, which would make it three titles in four years, then yes they would probably be a dynasty. I would agree with the fact that their coach, Jay Wright, is outstanding. He is on the way to becoming one of the best coaches ever and if he can capture a third national title, he would hit legendary status, joining such people on the Mount Rushmore of college basketball head coaches like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, UK’s Adolph Rupp, UNC’s Roy Williams, UCLA’s John Wooden, to name a few.
It was a tournament of regional instability. For the first time ever, none of the top four seeds in a single region (South) reached the Sweet 16, with bluebloods such as Kentucky and Arizona losing. The West Region was also ravaged, with Xavier, Gonzaga suffering shockers and defending national champion North Carolina got blown out on practically their home turf in Charlotte.
Only the East and Midwest had the most stability and consistency, with Villanova romping through their region (East) to the Final Four while in the Midwest, a hot-shooting Kansas team won an overtime thriller over Duke in the Elite Eight.
In the end, it was a great tournament to watch and I’m sure next year will be just as fun. Who knows what it’ll bring us next year. The tournament is part of American life and one that the people look forward to each year.
Edited by Brendan Shriver