2023 March Madness

aka The Bracket Breaker


One of the March Madness custom basketballs before a game. Photo Credit-Unsplash: Nikon Corporation

Isabelle Moyer, staff reporter

In all of March Madness history a 100% correct March Madness bracket has never been submitted and this year is no different. However, this year’s March Madness sent people into a craze with upsets no one could see coming. ESPN had an astounding number of 20,056,273 brackets submitted and other companies also do bracket challenges like NCAA and CBS Sports and none of these submitted brackets were perfect.

Purdue University Boilermakers empty basketball court before the big game.
Unsplash: Adam Bouse

The first round of March Madness took place on Thursday, March 16, 2023 and Friday, March 17, 2023. One of the biggest upsets was Fairleigh Dickinson University and Purdue. Fairleigh Dickinson made it into the playoffs, not because they won the Northeast Conference, but because the champions were not eligible to compete. The Northeast Conference champions, Merrimack, are in the middle of transitioning from Division II to Division I and because they are not officially a part of Division I, they were ineligible to compete.  The number 16 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights beat the number 1 Purdue Boilermakers at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on St. Patrick’s Day. This is only the second time in March Madness history that a number 16 seed beat a number 1 seed. Another upset that took place during the first week was the number 15, Princeton Tigers beating the number 2 seed Arizona State Wildcats. Shock spread across the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California when the Tigers beat the Wildcats 59-55. The Arizona Wildcats led most of the game until about 5 minutes left in the 2nd half when they could not make a basket, the Tigers took this opportunity and Caden Pierce made two free throws putting Princeton in the lead. Then Tosan Evbuomwan made another free-throw to secure their win. Another noteworthy upset during this first round was Furman University beating the University of Virginia. The Furman Paladins were the number 13 seed and they just barely beat the number 4 seed Virginia Cavaliers. At Amway Center in Orlando, Florida fans watched on as JP Pegues made the game winning 3 pointer with two seconds left giving Furman a one-point lead and giving an ending score of 68-67 Paladins.

Moving into the Round of 32 which took place on Saturday, March 18, 2023 and Sunday, March 19, 2023. Another number 1 seed was upset, the Kansas Jayhawks lost to the number 8, Arkansas Razorbacks. This game ended with a one-point difference creating the ending score of 72-71. The Jayhawks were leading most of the game as people anticipated but with about seven minutes left in the second half Arkansas tied the game up, and stole the lead winning in free throws. On March 18, 2023 in Golden 1 Center we saw the matchup of the Tigers. The Princeton Tigers continued on their winning streak to beat the number 7 Missouri Tigers. Unlike Princeton’s last game, Princeton blew out Missouri winning with a score of 78-63. Princeton led almost the entire game and secured their win, this game was a blowout by Princeton.

The Sweet 16 round took place on Thursday, March 23, 2023 and Friday, March 24, 2023.  In the Sweet 16, the last two number 1 seeds lost, sending shockwaves through the brackets and leaving March Madness without any top seeds. The Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the number 5 San Diego State Aztecs. In the KFC Yum! Center, the game ended 71-64. The other upset was when the number 5 Miami Hurricanes beat the Houston Cougars 89-75 at the T-mobile Center in Kansas City. In both games, the lower seed led almost the whole game and did not allow hope for the number 1 seeds.

The Elite 8 took place on Saturday, March 25, 2023 and Sunday, March 26, 2023. In the Elite 8, the Miami Hurricanes continued their winning streak by beating the Number 2 Texas Longhorns 88-81. The Longhorns led almost the entire game until about five minutes left in the 2nd half where the Hurricanes tied the game and ultimately took the lead propelling them to win the game.

The final four teams UConn, Miami, San Diego State and Florida Atlantic University competed on Saturday, April 1st, 2023. Number 4 UConn crushed number 5 Miami with the score of 72-59. However, in the second game of the final four, number 5, San Diego State beat number 9, FAU in a thriller. FAU was winning almost the whole game and at the end it seemed like San Diego State had no hope until Lamont Butler made a buzzer-beater, scoring 2 points in the last second of the game, sending San Diego State into the championship game.

The championship game took place on April 3, 2023 at NRG Stadium in Houston Texas.  The number 5 seed San Diego State Aztecs took on the 4 seed UConn Huskies. The two teams started the game close until the Huskies took the lead and toppled over the Aztecs. UConn even created a 16 point lead late in the first half. San Diego cut UConn’s lead down to only 5 points, but they still could not catch up when Jordan Hawkins hit a 3-pointer and set off the Huskies. By the end of the first half, everyone knew UConn would win the national championship. The Huskies shocked the Aztecs 76-59 and took home their fifth national championship.