Kansas wins the national championship following an unhinged month of March Madness


Jane Shiff

The Kansas Jayhawks previously won a championship in 2008.

Tyler Perry, Copy Editor

The Kansas Jayhawks pulled off the improbable upset after being down 16 points in the National Championship game to the North Carolina Tarheels. No. 1 Kansas was the favorite to win as they faced the much lower seeded, No. 8 North Carolina. The Jayhawks kept it close throughout most of the first half but let the lead slip away after the Tarheels finished a 10-0 run. Kansas fought through a historically high lead as they outscored North Carolina by 18 points in the second half. Their run ended in their favor following a 72-69 point win.

North Carolina would have been the first No. 8 seed to cut down the net since Villanova did it back in 1985. Their run to the championship was no easy task as they had to face No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Duke. Both opponents have made a championship appearance in the past few years but the Tarheels prevailed unexpectedly. 

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski faced his last game in the Final Four. He lost to North Carolina in the American Coastal Conference (ACC) championship and for him, he would end his historic career to the same team. He capped off the season with 100 tournament wins for his career. 

Despite the effort from the Tarheels, the Saint Peter’s Peacocks endured a run like no other team in history. They were the only No. 15 seed to make it to the Elite Eight. The No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats originally were a lock to beat the Peacocks, but after a lot of missed shots the Wildcats fell. The No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers and No. 7 Murray State Racers were also favorites. Doug Edert and the Peacocks sent both teams home before facing their eventual demise. 

More upsets were found in the South as the No. 5 Houston Cougars plowed through their region. This includes a 12 point win against the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats who were one of the clear cut favorites to win it all. Cougars, led by head coach Kevin Sampson, faced many injuries in the regular season. The injury ridden Cougars overcame much adversity but were sent off in the Elite Eight to the No. 2 Villanova Wildcats. 

The No. 10 Miami Hurricanes was a team that most fans and analysts had not making it past the first round. They finished their tough regular season schedule with just enough wins to gain them entry into the tournament. Their first round matchup against No. 7 Southern California seemed to be almost too much for the Hurricanes, but after a back and forth game they were able to pull off the major upset. Their championship hopes did not end in the second round as they sent Bruce Pearl and the No. 2 Auburn Tigers home in convincing fashion. Miami faced the No. 11 Iowa State Cyclones in the Sweet Sixteen. After finally being the favorites in one of their games, the Hurricanes pulled through and beat the Cyclones. This would be their last win as they choked a double digit lead to the eventual champions. 

Similarly to the Cyclones, the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines faced a comparable run to the Sweet Sixteen. After several doubts from analysts for being in the tournament, Michigan quickly pulled off an upset against the No. 6 Colorado State Rams. The Wolverines faced and overcame the No. 3 Tenessee Volunteers in the second round. Their third round opponent seemed to be too much for them however. Villnoava not only took care of the ball, but took care of Michigan as they knocked the Wolverines off in the Sweet Sixteen.

The last few rounds carried the same craze that the first two did. Large upsets and even larger comebacks were taking place all over the bracket. Each region had their fair share of upsets and this year’s March Madness was historically the greatest collection of games to have happened.