ESPN reports that an average of 9,9 million people watched the women's college championship game Sunday, even though the pre-tournament favourite, South Carolina, had lost to Iowa in the final four. No team was seeded number one. The men's No. 1 team made it to the 8th round, the first time this has happened under the current format.
The March-into-April Madness was a three-week period of intense games that saw many upsets and brackets broken. There were also plenty of entertaining moments, both big and small. What we learned from March Madness into April.
New Jersey is a great place to bet on underdogs.
Fairleigh Dickinson, from Teaneck, and Princeton (from... Princeton), fanned feathers one spring after an iridescent St. Peter's (from Jersey City), sashayed their way into the round of 8 for men. They were almost as iridescent in color as the Peacocks.
The Knights stunned the No. Purdue's first-game win over No. 1 seeded Arizona reverberated through the entire tournament. This was particularly true as it happened just one day after Princeton's stunning win over Arizona, the second-seeded team. The Tigers advanced to the round 16 by beating Missouri, but then fell to Creighton.
It was both inspiring and heartwarming to see the celebrations of joy that followed what Princeton and Fairleigh Dickinson accomplished. Blake Peters of Princeton, who played Spanish classical guitar, spoke fluent Mandarin, and drained five 3 point shots against Missouri in the second round, is a good example. He also plays 5 3-pointers. The tournament's first weekend is best. These days, especially in Jersey. -- Scott Miller
L.S.U. Before L.S.U.
Louisiana State's 102-85 win over Iowa in the Division I women’s basketball final set a new record for the most points scored in a Division I final.
It was not out of character for the Tigers to score 100 points or more in each of their first five games. They were ranked 5th in Division I by points per game when they played the game. It was a very different performance from their earlier N.C.A.A. games. tournament.
Michigan's Coach Kim Barnes Arico stated that she wanted to keep the Tigers under 40 percent of the time. The Wolverines achieved that goal by limiting L.S.U. The Tigers won by 24 points, despite only a 35.3% clip. During the regional final, L.S.U. Kim Mulkey stated in an interview during the game that she would not have watched the game if she had been at home. The Tigers won despite scoring 54 points, a season low.
L.S.U. The nets were blown out. The Tigers, a team that is known for its star forward Angel Reese’s baskets and free-throw scoring, were asked to shoot long distance and they did. Jasmine Carson, who was on the bench for the first half of the game, made five 3-pointers. The game saw L.S.U. shoot 11 of 17 beyond the arc, an impressive performance against Iowa's star Caitlin. Clark.
The Tigers' first national title was won by winning enough games. -- Evan Easterling
The men's final was the reunion of old school friends.
Basketball is a small world. Elite prospects often form bonds as teenagers and continue to work together throughout their professional careers. Think of LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony.
Some people's journeys are unexpected.
Darrion Trammell, from San Diego State, was on the same court with Joey Calcaterra, of Connecticut, on Monday night at the NRG Stadium. They played pickup games together as ninth- and tenth-graders in Marin Catholic High School a few miles over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Trammell, a ball-hawking guard, was from Marin City just across the bridge. Calcaterra, a gunner, came from Novato, further north. This area is the gateway to the Sonoma Valley and Napa Valleys and has produced footballers, but few basketball players.
Calcaterra stated that 'It is definitely not a hotbed for basketball.'
Calcaterra played for Marin Catholic and Trammell played for San Francisco's St. Ignatius. It seemed unlikely that this would change. Trammell, who had not received any scholarship offers, transferred to City College of San Francisco, and then played two more seasons at Seattle University. Calcaterra was a redshirt at the University of San Diego, where he developed into an excellent role player.
They entered the transfer portal last year. Trammell transferred to San Diego State, while Calcaterra went to Connecticut.
They were all there on Monday in a frenzied sequence that brought back memories of their first pickup games. Trammell had stolen an errant ball from Calcaterra, and he was on his way to the opposite end. However, the layup fell off the rim. Connecticut rebounded and passed the ball upcourt to 'Joey California', who hit a 3-pointer.
Calcaterra embraced Trammell in the handshake line at the end of the evening, after UConn won the men's N.C.A.A. Calcaterra hugged Trammell at the end of the night, after UConn had won the men's N.C.A.A.
Trammell replied, "I congratulated the man." I'm very proud of him. We will definitely talk about it later. We'll definitely talk about this later.
Women basketball players love to trash talk and can back up their words.
Some basketball fans seem to have an unalterable idea that women players must be demure. The women must smile when they are called out for fouls and refrain from celebrating any shots, or they will be accused of being arrogant.
The female athletes of today are not interested in that.
After Sunday's final, the discussion was centered on Angel Reese's taunting of Caitlin Clark and the reminders some commentators needed about Clark's taunts against South Carolina and Louisville in Iowa's past games. Clark's trash-talking in the Louisville game is part of a back-and-forth with Hailey Van Lith. Hailey talks so much trash, she was involved in a handshake confrontation after Louisville's win over Texas in the second round.
The game that lies behind trolling is what separates the trash talkers who are champions from those who are just yapping. Reese broke the N.C.A.A. Reese set an N.C.A.A. record by achieving 34 double-doubles in a single season. She outworked her opponents to get rebound after rebound. Clark broke the N.C.A.A. Iowa won six games in which Clark scored 191 points, a tournament record.
Fans of all sports, male or female, dislike cockiness. The criticism seems to be sexist (and, yes, racial) and disrespectful of the women's abilities. They should be confident. They are confident, and they should be.
Trash-talking is an art that transcends gender. We had some of the best trash-talking players on display at the women's tourney. -- Sara Ziegler
The men's tournament could be a place where more upsets occur.
Fairleigh Dickinson, the 16th seed, defeated No. 1 seed Purdue in the round of 64. Purdue's upset of No. 1 might have appeared to be an anomaly that only happens once every five years, at most. The team's win may provide clues for future March Madness editions. The victory came at a time when coaches and N.C.A.A. The tournament committee is debating whether or not to expand the competition by bringing in more mid-majors that can play differently and surprise.
F.D.U. relied on its upperclassmen and graduate student to carry the team in a tournament where the national champion was the only one without a McDonald's All-American since 1979. Some have speculated that the transfer portal was a major factor in the lack of professional prospects. This portal tends to attract older players. Duke and other teams with one-and-done talents have failed to progress in the tournament.
Purdue is a power conference team that had only one transfer, and did not have any top N.B.A. Prospects, and will continue to struggle if they don't rely on these ideas. And F.D.U. It's unlikely that F.D.U. will have the same luck as it did in Columbus, Ohio almost three weeks back. -- Noah Weiland
Flau'jae Johnson sang her own song.
While confetti was falling and Louisiana State players were celebrating their women's title win over Iowa, partying went to another level when Flau'jae's 'BIG 4', a song performed by a freshman guard, blared through the American Airlines Center. Johnson and her teammates rapped along to the song while wearing national champion hats.
Johnson said, 'They played my song as I held the National Championship trophy'. Stop playing with me!
Johnson won the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year award and scored 10 points during the National Title win. She is also pursuing a budding career in rap.
Johnson started rapping when she was in middle school. She appeared on a TV show called 'The Rap Game', where young hip-hop artists aged 11-16 competed to win a record contract with Jermaine dupri's So So Def Recording label. Johnson's popularity from that show led to her being invited to 'America's Got Talent', where she impressed the judges with her song 'Guns Down' and went viral.
Johnson sings about the void left in her life after losing her father, the rapper Camoflauge. He was killed by a gunshot months before Johnson was born.
Johnson told the Black girls who were present to express themselves after the victory. "On the court. Off the court. Be yourself. Be you.'
The Big East thrives without football.
In exactly a decade, several football playing schools, such as Syracuse and Connecticut, quit the Big East Conference in search of greener pastures, increased television revenues, and the opportunity to compete in the four-team College Football Playoff.
The so-called "Catholic 7," a group that included Villanova, Georgetown, and St. John's worked together under the banner Big East, and was able to keep their postseason tournament in men's basketball held at Madison Square Garden.
There were still many questions about the future. Will it survive the realignment of football and its changing landscape?
It's difficult to imagine the Big East doing much better a decade later. The conference now has three national championships for men's basketball in the last seven years, thanks to Connecticut's win on Monday night. Since 1999, only the Atlantic Coast Conference can boast of eight titles. Connecticut has won five titles in the last decade, more than any other conference except for the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Big East.
Ed Cooley, who was previously at Providence, is now moving to Georgetown. The Big East can be a national force if they can rebuild these downtrodden but tradition-rich programs.
Hurley concluded his news conference Monday night by saying that the Big East Conference was the best in the country. We were the N.C.A.A.'s most successful team. We won the championship and have a tournament. We were the best league of the country in this past year. This is not going to change. I don't believe we will be moving anywhere, with the coaches that have been moved. I know we aren't. -- Adam Zagoria
The pep band cares -- a great deal.
As the last seconds ticked by in Miami's regional semifinal win over Texas in Kansas City, I kept looking back at the Hurricanes pep band. They seemed to be as happy as the athletes.
Jay Rees clapped and smiled. Bassist and drummer of the band gave each other a thunderous high-five and a power hug. The tenor-saxophone player thumped on his chest and looked at the ceiling.
They still had work. They sang again when the buzzer sounded.
Talya Minsberg, my colleague, pointed out last week that pep bands were among the most loyal supporters of teams, but they are rarely given any attention. The band patiently waited along the baseline as the Miami players took turns chopping down pieces of net. Rees finally convinced a security guard that the band could take a picture on the court when everyone had left the court.
The musicians shouted in unison as he waved them to the floor.
They stood at the midcourt platform. They posed in front of the camera. They laughed while they picked up confetti from the floor and threw it into the air. Rees then started waving his hands again.
He said as the players joyfully skipped toward the tunnel, 'We aren't supposed to be here. Let's go.' -- Andrew Keh
Travel with black and gold.
This year, the Iowan fandom was a sight to behold during the women's N.C.A.A. This year's tournament was a real spectacle. Fans spent a month making sure Caitlin and the Hawkeyes always had the advantage of playing at home. They stopped at nothing.
I spoke to fans from Seattle who drove 29 hours to Seattle to cheer on the team. Iowa fans followed the team to Dallas for its first Final Four since 1983.
The event was attended by children with temporary tattoos and grandparents who have been season-ticket holders for years. There were also extended families, sometimes even entire neighborhoods, that came together to create a satellite version of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Many fans have noted that there are no professional sports clubs in Iowa. It was the best there is. The volume of cheers at the stadium showed that the team had done well, even though they were one win away from a championship. -- Talya Minsberg
The ball clacked.
Some punishments are enough to punish the laws of physics.
Alijah Martin, of Florida Atlantic, learned that the ball he was throwing down was sent flying up as high as the clock on the backboard which was nearing zero. This ended his team's victory over Fairleigh Dickinson.
The dunk was acrobatic, yes, but it was also meant to be a nonverbal statement that the Owls were going into the round of 16 for men, and not the Knights (16th seeded). As if the score 78-70 wasn't good enough.
Martin briefly became a March Madness villain, and Coach Dusty May apologized to Tobin Anderson in the handshake queue. Of course, the internet was indignant. May apologized on "The Jim Rome Show," where he admitted sincerely that the 360 left hand had probably a bit too much sauce.