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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Three takeaways from the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament

Let the madness begin
The 2006 Final Four. Final Four 2006 by Stepshep is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Deed.

This past week, the annual Division I NCAA Tournament otherwise known as ‘March Madness’ began. Several games were played with some outcomes being more predictable than others. However, there were others that busted the brackets of many avid basketball watchers across the country. Here are three of the main takeaways from the opening week of the NCAA tournament.


The first is Kentucky’s shocking loss to 14-seed Oakland. Guard Jack Gholke led the way for the Golden Grizzlies with 32 points, sinking ten three-pointers in an 80-76 victory. When the Wildcats defense adjusted, it was the other players who stepped up, most notably guard DQ Cole who sank the game-sealing three that gave the Golden Grizzlies a four-point lead with 28 seconds left. While Oakland was eventually defeated by NC State in the second round, their victory against Kentucky will be remembered by many.


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With the Wildcats loss, many are questioning whether longtime head coach John Calipari should continue coaching the team. With the Wildcats only posting one NCAA tournament win since 2019, it has become clear that a change may be inevitable. The buyout to fire him is $33 million but many believe that the Wildcats’ collapses over the last few years may justify paying a hefty sum. It remains yet to be seen whether they will choose to part with Calipari.


The second is the Colorado Buffaloes tournament run. Their run was unexpected as they eked out a 60-53 victory over Boise State. However, their first round game against Florida took a different route as it was an offensive showdown. The Buffaloes survived a late comeback from the Gators thanks to a tiebreaking jumper from guard KJ Simpson which propelled them to a 102-100 victory. The electrifying offense made up for the measly defense as the team shot 63% from the field and 60% from three. Sadly, the magic ran out for the Buffaloes in the second round as they were defeated by Marquette.


The final takeaway from the opening week of the NCAA Tournament is the dominance of the UConn Huskies. While it is unlikely that any university repeats as National Champions, the Huskies are making a strong case to repeat. They opened up tournament play with a 91-52 victory over Stetson University where they scored the first eight points of the game and never looked back.


Their second round performance was equally as impressive. The Huskies routed Big 10 Tournament finalists Northwestern in a 75-58 victory. The Huskies were able to build a 20 point lead in the first half which was never threatened throughout the rest of the game. With the conclusion of the second round, the Huskies will be facing San Diego State in a rematch of last year’s National Championship. Another dominant victory will strengthen UConn’s argument of becoming the first team since the 2007 Florida Gators to win consecutive National Championships.


With so much more of the tournament yet to be played, it will be interesting to see who will play for the National Championship this year. While all of the top two seeds in each region got through the first weekend, there are still lower seeds that are looking to surprise viewers in the later rounds.

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Trey Greenwell, Sports Editor
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