An Unforeseen Tournament

NCAA Men’s March Madness

By Fiona Gautschi and Ashley Johanek 

Junior Madeline Mullen’s bracket. Her predictions were close to the actual results of the tournament. 

68 teams. One champion. 

March Madness was here. 

Starting March 18, these 68 teams began their journey to the final game where a champion was determined. After weeks of dedication, team work, and extra practices, Baylor, Houston, UCLA, and Gonzaga made the trip to the final four. Many fans watching across the nation waited for this moment to arrive. Many people’s brackets were destroyed after a lot of hopeful high-seed teams did not make it far in the competition. Despite those losses, these four teams traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. to fight to the end. 

Many hopeful fans of Creighton basketball were overjoyed when they made it to the Sweet 16. After an exciting win over Ohio, many were enthusiastic about this historical moment for the Bluejays. Their game versus top-seed Gonzaga was a tough one. The Bluejays couldn’t quite make their way ahead of their opponent, losing the game, 65-83. 

First on the final four schedule was Baylor vs. Houston. After Houston scored the first points of the game, they trailed behind Baylor by 20 at half. As the second half was played, Houston continued to trail behind Baylor, and Baylor won, 78-59. The game was a knockout for many who hoped Houston could stay close all game. The next game in the final four was between Gonzaga and UCLA. Throughout the whole game, it was a battle for the lead. Both teams played great defense, and strategically planned their offensive shots well. Gonzaga pulled off a buzzer beater shot to win the game by 3 points. Many fans hoped for a UCLA win, but luck was in the air for Gonzaga. 

Gonzaga and Baylor, each division’s first seed, advanced to the championship game held on Monday, April 5. Baylor came out strong and held a lead throughout the game. Gonzaga was confident at first, but as they continued to play, they couldn’t find a lead. Baylor ended up winning by 16 points, making them the 2021 champions of the NCAA Men’s March Madness basketball tournament. 

Many Marian girls participated in NCAA brackets this year with family, friends, or through the March Madness app. Junior Maddie Mullen submitted her bracket to the app with hopes of success. Before doing so, she researched the teams with the built in stats feature on the app, and then made her picks. She picked a lot of the teams that outplayed high-seed teams, including Ohio beating Virginia, UCLA winning in the first two rounds, North Texas beating Purdue, and a few other minor upsets. Mullen is very proud that her final four had three of the teams correct: Gonzaga, Baylor and Houston. 

Mullen said, “I make a bracket every year. I don’t think there’s ever been a year in my life when I didn’t have a bracket; even as a little kid, I would submit a bracket to my family contest.” For Mullen, one of the main reasons for filling out an annual bracket is the love and passion about basketball passed down to her from her grandma. “It never fails to make me smile when my grandma proudly and confidently shows off her basketball knowledge,” Mullen said. 

March Madness for many is a time to celebrate the nation’s love for basketball and to cheer on their favorite teams. This year’s March Madness tournament was full of close games, major upsets, and overall excitement. 

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