March Madness: Opening Weekend Takeaways
The 2022 March Madness Tournament has concluded its opening weekend of play and given college basketball fans a ton of exciting games and moments.
As fans await Thursday’s slate of Sweet 16 matchups, let’s take a look back at some of the takeaways from the first two rounds of the tournament.
Big Ten and SEC Struggling
The Big Ten and SEC have just three teams between the two powerhouse conferences remaining in the Sweet 16 and are disappointing many fans with their performances.
The Big Ten was expected to do big things after having nine teams invited to the dance, but after the opening weekend, just No. 11 seed Michigan and No. 3 seed Purdue remain.
Big Ten teams had a solid first round, but Rutgers lost their First Four game, No. 5 Iowa was upset by No. 12 Richmond and No. 12 Indiana was dominated by No. 5 St. Mary’s.
The second round wreaked havoc on the Big Ten conference as Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois and Wisconsin were unable to advance to the Sweet 16. The only teams that remain for the Big Ten are No. 3 Purdue who has looked good thus far and No. 11 Michigan who many believed should not have made the tournament to begin with.
The SEC has experienced a rather similar one to the Big Ten as they had six teams invited to the dance and only No. 4 seed Arkansas remains.
The tournament started off rough for the SEC and has only gotten worse. In the first round, Kentucky, Alabama and LSU were upset and half of the SEC teams were eliminated just like that.
The second round would not be any better as Tennessee suffered a tough loss to a somewhat inconsistent Michigan team and Auburn was smacked in the face by Miami (FL). The only positive note for the SEC is that Arkansas is still kicking, but they face the top overall seed Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.
St. Peter’s Cinderella Story
For the second year in a row and only the third time in NCAA March Madness history, there is a No. 15 seed dancing their way into the Sweet 16.
The St. Peter’s Peacocks have made a name for themselves as this year’s Cinderella story. The No. 15 seed in the East region has shocked the world and defeated No. 2 seed Kentucky before knocking off No. 7 seed Murray State in the second round.
The Peacocks received big performances from Daryl Banks III who scored 27 points against Kentucky and KC Ndefo who led the team with 17 points against Murray State. Clutch shot-making from Doug Edert and solid defense have also propelled this team into the Sweet 16.
St Peter’s faces a difficult opponent in the Jaden Ivey-led Purdue Boilermakers who are the No. 3 seed in the region. Nonetheless, St. Peter’s has already knocked off a top seed and who says they can’t do it again.
If they can pull it off, they will have gone the furthest ever for a No. 15 seed.
ACC Teams Proving Themselves
After what some would consider a mediocre year for the ACC, the conference has made some noise and impressed experts with three teams in the Sweet 16, even though just five ACC teams were invited to the dance.
Many assumed Duke would likely make it to the second weekend of the tournament, but not many predicted Miami (FL) and North Carolina to be there as well. The two have combined to knock off No. 1 seed Baylor, No. 7 USC and No. 2 Auburn.
The ACC is proving themselves and could easily send three teams to the Elite 8. Fans should be excited for the ACC and the rest of March Madness as we get closer and closer to crowning a champion.
Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Second-year / Broadcast Journalism
Thomas is a broadcast journalist from Shorewood, Illinois which is an hour South of Chicago. He is a second-year student at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. His goal is to be an ESPN broadcaster who covers a variety of sports including professional and college level football and basketball and bring entertainment to people all over the world. His other goal is to spread his love of sports to all cultures through projects that allow children of all ethnicities to learn and play all kinds of sports. He is currently an active member of CommRadio, a student run radio station at Penn State. He plans to create his own sports podcast as well as doing play by play and analysis for Penn State sporting events in the future. In the future, he hopes to use his skills to entertain people all over the world!