- March Madness, Sadness, and Tears of Joy
- By Psyche Ives
- March Madness began with 64 teams, but this number narrowed quickly
as teams were knocked out. Early upsets began as highly ranked seeds were
knocked out by lower teams. One of the biggest surprises occurred in the
Sweet Sixteen, as the number one seed Kansas Jayhawks fell to little-known,
eighth-seeded Rhode Island.
- Two other number one seeds, Duke and Arizona, were ousted in the Elite
Eight by second and third seeds. The Arizona loss to the Utah Utes came
as a shock to many, because the Wildcats, last years champion, were predicted
to repeat by many basketball fans and analysts. The Wildcats were made
up of the same key players as last year, with starting freshman sensation
Mike Bibby returning for his sophomore season at point guard along with
seniors Miles Simon and Michael Dickerson. Arizona fell behind early in
the game and Utah's lead only increased as the game went on. The Wildcats
eventually lost by a margin of about 20 points. Kentucky slipped past Duke
after a little trouble, making their way to the Final Four.
- Going into the Final Four were Kentucky and Stanford on one side and
North Carolina and Utah on the other side. Stanford had shocked everyone
by making it to the Final Four, beating second seed Purdue and eighth seed
Rhode Island. As it was, Utah and Kentucky prevailed, setting the two final
teams for the NCAA Championship Game.
- Monday, March 30, Kentucky and Utah battled their final games in San
Antonio. Utah lead throughout most of the game but their bench wasn't as
deep as Kentucky's. Two-thirds of the way through the second half, the
fatigue factor began to set in for the Utes. Their shots began clanking
off their rim and they proceeded to go scoreless for about three minutes.
By the end, Kentucky had come back to take the lead and went on to win
78 to 69. Utah's legs gave out on them and the fresher legs of Kentucky
earned the Wildcats their first Championship under the rule of their new
coach, Tubby Smith.
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