UVA Takes the Title, Nova Out Early
Every spring, 68 Division 1 basketball teams from all four corners of the country are selected to partake in the ruthless fight for the NCAA title. It is a single-elimination tournament that has coined the name March Madness, and these are the notes to remember.
UVA, seed 1, defeated Texas Tech, seed 3, with their 85-77 lead, which made them the 2019 March Madness Champion. This wasn’t largely unanticipated, however, due to their disparity in ranking (a “seed” is a preliminary rank given to a team within its conference). A Texas win would have gone down as an “upset”— a win by an underdog team ranked 2 or more seeds lower than the opponent. The most notable upsets occurred in the Sweet 16 and ultimately, in the Elite Eight. In the Elite Eight, Texas Tech unanticipatedly defeated Gonzaga, seed 1, by a crushing 6 point lead. This is micro in comparison to the Sweet 16 defeat of UNC by Auburn, which was by a staggering 17 points. This was unforeseen, considering that Auburn was a seed 5 and UNC was a seed 1. Other surprising upsets included the UC Irvine defeat of Kansas State, 70-64. Irvine was seeded at 13 and Kansas State was seed 4.
Zion Williamson and his NBA future
From the beginning, it was trendy to have Duke winning the bracket, and this was largely attributed to Zion Williamson, 18. In his 2018-2019 basketball season, his FG%, (the percentage of successful non-foul shots made to attempted non-foul shots) was 77.1%. He made 111 of his 144 shots. This exceeded Ben Simmons’s FG% in his 2015-2016 season when he played for LSU, which was 75.2% — that is, 158 successful shots out of 210 shots. Looking forward into Zion’s future, it is anticipated that he will secure a position on one of the NBA’s teams as the first overall draft pick. Given that the New York Knicks completed their season with the worst record of any other team in the league, they are the most likely to win the NBA draft lottery and receive the first overall draft pick, which makes it likely that Zion will be looking at a future with the Knicks. We will have to see what happens on May 14th when the winner of the NBA draft lottery is revealed.
What happened to Villanova?
Villanova’s short lifespan in the tournament was of no surprise. Over the course of their off-season, they lost four game-changing players to the NBA: Donte DiVincenzo, Omari Spellman, Jalen Brunson, and Mikal Bridges. Despite winning the Big East tournament title in their regular season, they were stopped in the second round by Purdue — a 26 point loss. Villanova was a seed 6 and Purdue was a seed 3.