March Madness Recap and Power Rankings for Next Year
March Madness was nothing short of excitement with a lot of heartbreak. 68 NCAA schools entered at the chance to win the 2021 National Championship. After 63 games, one team emerged victoriously. As COVID-19 surged last March, the tournament was completely canceled, so the anticipation for it being back on this year was huge. Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois, and Michigan were the four number one ranked teams and with 64 other teams added, the games began on March 18th.
Over the course of 18 days, 67 teams were eliminated by game-winners, blow-outs, and even COVID-19 protocols. All teams participated in staying in Indianapolis for the tournament in a “bubble” like environment. Similar to the NBA’s bubble for the playoffs and finals. In the end, the Baylor Bears upset the crowd favorite, Gonzaga Bulldogs, to secure their first men’s basketball championship in program history. But let’s talk about how we got to the final two.
Recapping March Madness
How the Tournament Went
There were plenty of upsets during the stretch, but the most surprising was Oral Roberts (15-seed) knocking out Ohio State (two-seed) in the first round. But Oral Roberts wasn’t done there, in the round of 32, they knocked out Florida (seven-seed). Oral Roberts was the talk of the town, but they weren’t the only team upsetting higher seeds. Loyola Chicago (eight-seed) took out number one seeded Illinois. Syracuse (eight-seed) took out West Virginia and Oregon State (12-seed) made it all the way to the sweet 16.
In the semifinals, Baylor took care of Houston (two-seed) in a 78-59 win. UCLA (11-seed) and Gonzaga battled till the last second, literally. That is until Jalen Suggs hit a half-court shot game-winner at the end of the game to send Gonzaga to the title game. With that, the stage was set for the two number one ranked teams to face off with each other. Gonzaga was the favorite throughout the whole tournament and that didn’t change heading into the championship. However, Baylor had other plans. Baylor had the momentum throughout the entire game, first by leading at 10 at the half. Then from there, Baylor kept the pressure on Gonzaga and beat them 86-70.
Power Ranking for Next Year
With Michigan being the top recruiting basketball school in the nation along with the 2021 national coach of the year, it’s safe to say they will be a top competitor for next year’s tournament. UCLA, Baylor, Alabama, Gonzaga, and Kansas are also at the top as far as power rankings for the 2021-2022 NCAA season.
Some notable players from these power teams will be entering the NBA draft this year as top prospects. Prospects who could have a positive impact on certain NBA teams. Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State is projected at number one, followed by Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga), Jalen Johnson (Duke), and Franz Wagner (Michigan). The 2021 NBA draft is set for July 29th as of right now. The dates for 2022’s March Madness tournament are set to begin March 17th in Dayton, Ohio. They are expected to conclude around April 4th in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images