By Enrique Millan
Many teams have proved themselves and battled their way into the Sweet Sixteen. 8th Seed Wisconsin surprised the world and took down Villanova to secure a spot in the Sweet Sixteen, winning their game against Florida. The game against Florida was tough, when Wisconsin took them into overtime. In overtime, Chris Chiozza (Point Guard for the Gators), hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win it and the Gators moved on. Xavier, an 11th seed came out strong and took down a 3rd seed
(Florida St.) and dominated them by beating them by 25 points with a little help of Rathan Mayes career high 35 points.
Another game that came down to the wire was Michigan and Oregon. Coming down late in the game, Oregon was up one and with a missed free throw, Michigan had a shot to win it all. Derrick Walton had the ball for Michigan and shots for 3, but it fell short, and Michigan fell short to Oregon.
UCLA vs Kentucky was another highly watched game. Lonzo Ball of UCLA, had to prove to the world that he was ready for the NBA, because of his dad’s recent comments saying he was better than NBA All Star Stephen Curry. But both UCLA and Lonzo Ball fell short, and there efforts were not enough to secure the win. Kentucky player De’Aaron Fox put up 39 points, the most ever by a freshman in the tournament.
During the Elite 8, the most anticipated game to watch was North Carolina vs. Kentucky, and they delivered quite a show. Kentucky had less than 15 seconds to go, when Malik Monk hit a game tying 3-pointer and tied the game 73-73. North Carolina then decided to not call a timeout, and dribbled the ball down the court with 6 seconds left, and Luke Maye got the ball at the elbow close to the three, and knocked it down to gain the team the right to advance to the final four. Kansas vs. Oregon were fighting to get into the final four, but Kansas had a tough night, shooting 35% FG (Field Goal Percentage) and 20% 3 PT (Successful Three Pointers) to Oregon’s 50.9% FG and 44.0% 3PT. Gonzaga made a statement being the number one seed and took down Xavier.
Also, South Carolina was making their statement in the tournament, being a number 7th seed and making it to the Final Four. They took down Florida even after being blown out earlier in the year; in the tournament they bounced back.
The Final Four was set and it was Oregon vs. North Carolina and South Carolina vs. Gonzaga. North Carolina was looking to make it to the finals again, but during the game it was back and forth. It ended up coming to the wire, and at the end, North Carolina had a chance to close out the game by making their free throws, but couldn’t make them. Luckily, they got the rebounds after the missed free throws, allowing them to run out the clock and advance to the finals once again. The other matchup, Gonzaga, looked as if they were ready to take it away. But South Carolina fought back, and went on a 14-0 run to get back in the game. Another game that was coming down to the wire. But towards the end, Gonzaga had some defensive stops and clutch shots, and moved on to the finals for the first time in their program history.
At last, the lineup for Finals was set. It was North Carolina vs. Gonzaga. The Tar Heels (North Carolina), having been in this position before (in last year’s Finals they lost to Villanova on a buzzer beater), they wanted to try to win another championship. On the other hand, Gonzaga was there for the first time, and wanted to get their first ring. During the game, it looked as if the Tar Heels were going to lose, because they were shooting a less impressive percentage than Bulldogs at halftime, but they were still in the game. Towards the end of the game, each team battled hard, despite The Tar Heels’ shooting struggles. Isaiah Hicks (UNC) came up with a clutch basket, putting the Heels up by one. On the other end he came out with a block, and Justin Jackson (UNC) went out on the fast break and dunked it. Then Gonzaga had a crucial turnover, to end the game. The North Carolina Tar Heels were champs once again, in this 2017 NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Featured Image: By Bluedog423 at en.wikipedia. (Taken by Bluedog423.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons