With March here, that means one thing for men’s college basketball—March Madness, the annual NCAA college basketball tournament. March Madness brackets will come out on March 12, while the first games of the tournament start on March 14.
In this college basketball season, the Top 25 teams have been shuffled around a lot, and no one team has totally dominated the court. This season has been filled with upsets, and epic buzzer beaters.
One team that is on most people’s minds in this area, and also around the country, is currently number two-ranked Villanova. As reigning NCAA champs, Villanova is looking to defend their championship this year. Last year, Villanova beat UNC in the championship with a three-point shot by Kris Jenkins in the final seconds of the game.
With Villanova being so close by, many students at Cherry Hill East are Villanova fans, or at least root for Villanova when the tournament comes around. Whether their parents or siblings attended the school, or they are just fans of the team, many students are excited for the tournament.
Sean Coen (’20), a big time Villanova fan, said, “Last year Villanova winning the tournament was amazing, and I want to see them do it again.”
The loss of Villanova seniors Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu this year forced other players to step up. Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Kris Jenkins did just that. They are the three leading scorers on the team and were dominant threats on the court throughout much of the season.
For families with a sibling or child playing in the tournament, March Madness is even more of an emotional rollercoaster with many ups and downs.
Erica Brunson (’19), sister of Villanova sophomore guard, Jalen Brunson, said, “I think Villanova has a great chance of winning back to back titles. March is a crazy month and I certainly enjoyed last year.”
Brunson said “I personally just take one game at a time and don’t let the nerves get to me. Of course I’m not playing but it’s just as nerve racking for the families.”
The other Philadelphia teams like Temple, Saint Joseph’s, La Salle, Penn and Drexel are not performing as well as Villanova this season and most likely will not make the tournament. However, if any one of the other City 6 teams wins its conference tournament, they will have an automatic bid to the tournament. After beating Harvard last weekend, Penn clinched the fourth slot in the first-ever Ivy League Tournament that will take place this weekend.
Nationally, Kansas, UCLA, Gonzaga, and Oregon have also been some of the top teams in the regular season. People will definitely keep their eyes out for these teams during the tournament.
However, in the tournament, anything is possible, and there could always be an underdog team that takes the victory.