Ladies and gentlemen, what a season it has been! The 2023 NCAA Men’s basketball season was nothing short of exhilarating, and March Madness did not disappoint. From buzzer-beaters to upsets, this season had it all. But let’s start from the beginning.
From The Tip-Off
As always, the season kicked off with a bang and teams started to show their true colors. The usual suspects like Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina were competing for supremacy, but there were also some surprise contenders that emerged. These included programs like Florida Atlantic and Creighton who made deep runs in the tournament. Many fans thought a title was in the cards for hard working Gonzaga, making their eighth consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. But they were eliminated in the Elite Eight round.
The odds did not favor them, or the eventual winners UConn, when the tournament began and there were many other shocking results along the way that make this season one to remember. If you want to know more about how to calculate the odds look at these FAQs from Play Live Casino, their live streaming games and classic slots mean they know all about it. The sportsbook favorites still managed to dominate the early stages of the 2023 NCAA tournament, but it didn’t take long for the underdogs to have their say and upset the applecart for those that like to wager.
It didn’t take long for the upsets to start rolling in. Kentucky shocked most observers when they crashed out to Kansas State in the second round. Duke fell at the same stage, and that is probably when March Madness kicked up a gear and produced performances from the likes of Florida Atlantic and the UConn Huskies. The Sweet 16 was quite an eclectic collection of teams, with most of the big names out. This suddenly became anyone’s tournament.
The Sweet And The Elite
The South regional semi-finals gave us the most straightforward looking matchups of the Sweet 16 stage of the bracket. Alabama looked set for a clean run to the Final Four, but San Diego State had other ideas and put them out of contention. Creighton had earned themselves a serious shot at the final rounds after a convincing victory over Princeton, only to lose by a single point in the Elite Eight round of the South Regional.
Florida Atlantic had the most improbable run of any team in March. The madness took them past Memphis in the first round, and past Purdue slayers Fairleigh Dickinson to take on Tennessee in the Sweet 16. Tennessee had just put Duke away in the second round but were out of juice when they met FAU, losing 62-55 to give Florida their place in the Elite Eight against Kansas State. That game ended with just three points separating the teams and the FAU Owls were on their way to the Final Four.
In the Mid-West, the Miami Hurricanes began by beating Drake and then steamrolling every team before them all the way to Texas in the Elite Eight. The Longhorns fought the good fight but Miami had the Final Four firmly in their sights and eked out an 88-81 game. UConn and Gonzaga grabbed all the attention, with blistering runs all the way to the Elite Eight. Gonzaga’s run came to a crashing end with a dominant performance from the UConn Huskies, who smashed them 82-54 to book a spot in Houston.
A Final Four To Remember
As the field narrowed down to the Final Four, the tension only continued to build. After dominating the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West regional final all the momentum was with the UConn Huskies. They were the highest seeded team of all four finalists, leaving the big names of the NCAA and their star players nowhere to be found. Purdue fell to Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of games, and Kansas only got one stage further before defeat at the hands of Arkansas.
The Final Four of San Diego State, Florida Atlantic, Miami, and UConn may never be repeated. This was March Madness at its best, bringing college ball fans a truly mixed bag of potential champions. San Diego is a capable ball team and Florida Atlantic pushed them point for point each game. The basketball gods favored San Diego State, however, and sent them to the Final game to face UConn.
The Huskies ran through Miami like they were standing still, carrying their high tempo from their Gonzaga game all the way to the Final. Their victory seemed inevitable before the last tip-off of the tournament. San Diego had a bright first quarter but couldn’t keep up with the onrushing UConn, who sealed the deal with a convincing 76-59 victory.
Can UConn defend their title next year? The stars would have to align just right for them to have the same kind of run they enjoyed in 2023. The big boys like Duke, Kansas, and Alabama will be licking their wounds and plotting their return to the late stages of the bracket next year. UConn will not be so lucky next time if they have anything to say about it.