March Madness: A Breakdown of the Round of 64 & Round of 32


Credit: UnSplash from Adam Bouse

Harper Wicker-Lenseigne (he/him), Staff Writer

March Madness is a yearly collegiate basketball tournament. Known for its exciting upsets, memorable games, and unlikely successes, it’s one of the most important sporting events of the year in the United States. So far, this year is no different. Let’s examine the Round of 64 and the Round of 32, and what teams surprised viewers in the first round.

Round of 64

#2 Arizona vs. #15 Princeton

One of the most unlikely of them all, the 15-seeded Princeton Tigers overcame 2-seeded Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the tournament. The Tigers were certainly not the favorite, with the spread set at -19.5 — meaning that Princeton was projected to lose by at least 19.5 points. However, an extremely poor performance by the Arizona Wildcats allowed Princeton to advance to the Round of 64 for the 11th time in tournament history.

#1 Purdue vs. #16 Fairleigh Dickinson

First-time competitors and #16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson Knights shockingly upset #1 seed Purdue Boilermakers for only the second time in tournament history. The Knights, despite making the tournament, were incredibly weak at first appearance. FDU had the shortest team in the Division I of the NCAA, whereas Purdue had the tallest team, with star player Zach Edey at 7’ 4”. Not only that, FDU didn’t even win their conference, which is a typical requirement for March Madness competitors. They only made it to the tournament because their conference winner was not eligible to compete in the tournament due to joining Division I too recently. However, Purdue was defeated, in spite of their advantage. Purdue has lost to 13, 15, and 16 seeds in consecutive tournaments, showing their skill in the regular season but the inability to perform well in the tournament.

#4 Virginia vs. #13 Furman

The Furman Paladins upset the Virginia Cavaliers with a nail-biter finish. In the last few seconds of the game, the Cavaliers were in the lead by one point with the ball. Kihei Clark, a Cavalier, threw the ball backward, which landed in the hands of a Furman player, who quickly put the ball up for a three-point shot, earning Furman the win. In the words of Jalen Slawson, a Paladin forward, “He just freakin’ threw the ball!”

Round of 32

#15 Princeton vs. #7 Missouri

The Princeton Tigers, coming off of an unbelievable upset on the Arizona Wildcats, went into the Round of 32 against the Missouri Tigers. Princeton confidently won against Missouri, with a final score of 78-63. The Princeton Tigers are going into the Sweet 16 — when they weren’t predicted to win a single game. Perhaps they are this year’s “Cinderella story?”

#2 Marquette vs. #10 Michigan State

The Michigan State Spartans, led by Tom Izzo, upset the Marquette Golden Eagles in another nail-biting game. Marquette was again strongly favored in this game but were unable to beat the Spartans. They were down 5 points at halftime, but both teams went on runs multiple times. However, Marquette had only a 64.5% free throw rate, compared to MSU’s 82.6% rate. Additionally, Marquette had 16 turnovers throughout the course of the game.

#1 Kansas vs. #8 Arkansas

The Kansas Jayhawks were also upset by the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kansas was a favorite for this tournament, known for their consistency in the March Madness tournament. Despite being ahead by 8 points at halftime, Arkansas came back strong and were able to defeat the Jayhawks. Kansas was the second 1 seed to not make it to the Sweet 16, with only Houston and Alabama left.

The Sweet 16, which started yesterday, is sure to be exciting. Keep an eye out for the Princeton Tigers, who’ve upset all of their competition and hope to continue their run to the Final Four. They play against the six seeded Creighton Bluejays on Thursday. Additionally, Michigan State is playing uncharacteristically well for their seed, and will be playing three seed Kansas State.