North Carolina men’s basketball ended the madness by taking the NCAA National Championship title and defeating Gonzaga 71-65.
The final game, held in Glendale, Arizona, was highly anticipated after North Carolina’s close loss against Villanova last year and Gonzaga’s chance to compete in the Final Four for the first time in their school’s history.
According to SB Nation, Gonzaga held a seven-point lead in the first half of the game. As the clock continued to tick, North Carolina caught up with Gonzaga causing a “scoring see-saw that continued until the closing moments,” Alex Kirshner, reporter for SB Nation, wrote: “It was obvious with about 16 minutes left that we’d be in for a dramatic finish.”
Moments before the buzzer, North Carolina was ahead just three points. In those last moments, forward Justin Jackson made a “breakaway dunk,” putting the Tar Heels five points ahead of the Bulldogs.
Though Gonzaga did not win the Championship title, their ability to make it to the final four for the first time was admirable. CBS reported that Gonzaga was rated “the best, most consistent team in the sport most of the season.”
Win or lose, many people enjoy the competitive atmosphere March Madness brings. Die-hard fans create brackets every year, dictating the route they think their team will take to the Championship.
This year, senior women’s basketball player Kodee Powell predicted Kansas, Oregon, North Carolina and Syracuse would make it to the Final Four.
Unfortunately, after many missed shots, the Jayhawks, Powell’s favorite team, was taken out of the tournament after their loss against Oregon in the Elite Eight.
Though Powell’s team did not make a comeback this year, Powell was happy to see North Carolina take the title.
“They are a very good offensive rebounding team,” Powell said. He said he believes North Carolina works hard and deserved the win.
Senior Jed Warren was surprised that North Carolina was able to make it back to the championship game after last year’s loss. Warren did not even pick North Carolina to make it to the Final Four in his bracket this year.
Like Warren, junior Brandon Reichert did not have North Carolina in his final predictions.
“I was pretty confident in South Carolina, Gonzaga, Villanova, and my roots always put my hope that by some chance Oklahoma State could pull a miracle,” Reichert said. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this year.”
As the tournament went on Reichert had strong doubts that North Carolina could pull it off, which made the championship game his favorite part of March Madness this year.
“Nothing beats a close championship,” Reichert said.