One Last Goodbye to the Madness of March
BY NATHANIAL CAUDEL
As baseball season starts up, The Columns takes a final look at the college basketball season and the Final Four.
Another college basketball season has come and gone as “March Madness” came to a close with the NCAA Division I championship games for both men’s and women’s basketball. Many people circle their calendars for these three weeks, and are always eager for its arrival.
The men’s tournament officially ended on the evening of Monday, April 6, and the women’s ended the following evening. The event has the reputation of causing many individuals to put their work on hold. This raises the question of how Westminster College students feel about “March Madness” and whether their class work was put on hold over its duration.
“I think it’s a great time, where anything is possible,” Solomon Weider stated, class of ’17. “I’ve never skipped class to watch it, but it does take up a lot of my time each year whenever it finally gets here.”
Students are not the only ones who enjoy March Madness at Westminster College. Associate Dean of Student Life, Jackie Weber, also enjoys watching both the men’s and women’s basketball national championships.
“I wish that I wasn’t working, so I could pay attention to it more,” Weber said. “I hated that both men and women played at the same time year. It made it more difficult to stay up-to-date on both tournaments.”
Every year there are several stories that develop in the tournament. This year the main story was whether the University of Kentucky could finish the season undefeated. There was one team last year, Wichita State, who entered the tournament undefeated but ended up losing against Kentucky in the Elite Eight. According to basketball.com, the last team from a power conference (SEC, ACC, Big 12, PAC 12, and Big 10) to finish the regular season undefeated was the University of Indiana, back in 1976. They also ended up winning the National Championship, making them the last team to complete a perfect season. Kentucky made a great run but ended up falling short in the Final Four, in which they lost to Wisconsin 71-64.
“Kentucky had a deep bench which helped out a lot with the games that were played very close together,” Weider said. “I usually like rooting for the underdog, but it would have been cool to witness a team that went undefeated and I don’t think there will be another team like Kentucky, who could’ve actually done it, in my lifetime.”
The men’s Final Four will forever be remembered as the end of Kentucky’s perfect season. The Wisconsin and Kentucky game was closer than the score would suggest, as it was a one point. The other game was not quite as close as Duke easily beat Michigan State.
On the women’s side, the game that featured South Carolina and Notre Dame went all the way down to the wire, in which Notre Dame barely escaped with a one-point win. In the other semi-final game UConn won convincingly against Maryland.
One person who was in attendance at the men’s Final Four was Westminster College President Barney Forsythe.
“Indianapolis was a warm and welcoming city to the large crowds gathered for the Final Four,” stated President Forsythe. “The energy in the Lucas Oil Stadium was electric—bands playing, fans dressed in school colors cheering, and student athletes performing at the top of their game.”
The championship games on both sides were well played. The men’s game was said by many ESPN commentators to be an instant classic. In the men’s championship game, Duke edged out Wisconsin in close game that ended 68-63. This championship win gave Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski, his fifth National Championship.
In the women’s championship game, UConn won a close battle against Notre Dame, 63-53. This championship win gave UConn coach, Geno Auriemma, his tenth National Championship.
“Geno doesn’t sugarcoat anything and cuts no one any slack, but his programs accomplishments speak for themselves,” stated Tracey Braden, the head coach of the women’s basketball team of Westminster College. “He knows how to win. Period.”