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One Shining Moment: The Men’s NCAA Tournament

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The men’s NCAA March Madness has finally come to an end. For

over a month we’ve filled out brackets and made bets on who would be this years

NCAA tournament champions. Last night’s match up was definitely one for the

books, but first lets take a look at what led up to the duel that crowned the University

of Kansas Jayhawks as the kings.

 

Each year, it is almost certain that your bracket will be ruined

due to the usual upsets that happen during the tournament. This year, a few schools

that caused many fans the bracket blues included West Kentucky, who upset Drake

University; San Diego State caused the Connecticut Huskies an early exit in the

tournament; West Virginia ousted the Blue Devils of Duke University, and Villanova

also caused a stir when they upset mighty Clemson.

 

But this year the most unprecedented upset occurred when Davidson University made it to the Elite Eight.

At the top of the Davidson clan is Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA star Dell Curry, whose name is now ringing bells.

 

Davidson upset Gonzaga, Georgetown and then Wisconsin by 17

points. Curry became the fourth player to hit the 30-point mark in his first

four NCAA tournament games. With a school enrollment of 1700 this was the

furthest Davidson has gotten since 1969.

 

This season, it was very hard to pick the underdogs in the

final four match-up when all four schools had very impressive resumes. For the

first time in history, all four number one seeds in each region made it to

Final Four National Semi finals: the University of North Carolina, University

of Kansas, University of Memphis and the University of California Los Angeles.

 

Here is a brief breakdown of each of the powerhouses’ road

to the Final Four:  

 

In the first round, the North Carolina Tarheels beat Mount

St. Mary’s 113 to74 and then trampled over the Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas by 31. After their victory over

Washington State, the fired up Tarheels now had one thing standing in their way

of the Final Four, and that was Louisville. For the first time since winning

the championship in 2005, the Tarheels moved on to the National Semifinals

after holding off the Cardinals 83 to73.

 

The Kansas

Jayhawks won their first game in the tournament against Portland State 85 to 61,

and then fought off UNLV by 19 points. In the second round, the Villinova Wildcats

were sent home 72 to 57, and finally Kansas shattered the hopes of Davidson by

a mere two points. Kansas

was now set to go up against UNC for the chance to move on to the championship.

 

The University of

Memphis Tigers defeated the Texas Arlington Mavericks by 24, and then the Mississippi

State 77 to74. Michigan

State was defeated in the

third round 92 to 74 and finally the Tigers eliminated the Texas Longhorns 85

to 67, this win solidified their spot in the Final Four.

 

UCLA fought their way to a third consecutive Final Four appearance

by first shutting out Mississippi Valley State 70 to 29, and then the Texas

A& M Aggies by two. The Bruins held off West Kentucky by 10, and in the

Regional Finals took out Xavier by 19.The UCLA Bruins already have eleven NCAA titles, and only lost three games this

season, garnishing 35 wins.

 

Now on to the final four showdowns! Speed was a major factor

in both games and at the end two teams Kansas

and Memphis triumphed

to play in the national championship.

 

In the Memphis- UCLA match up, the Tigers won 78 to 63 over

the Bruins. Kevin Love, UCLA’s star freshman was held to 12 points as he tried

to rally his team. The Tigers led 50 to 45 with 13 minutes and 30 seconds left

in the game before putting the game out of reach.

 

Derrick Rose put on a spectacular show as he and Chris Douglas-Roberts

had combined 53 points. Although, Joey Dorsey had zero points, his 15 rebounds

kept Love under control. The Memphis Tigers set an NCAA record of 38 wins in

one season.

 

Up next was the Tarheels versus the Jayhawks, which proved

to be one of the most embarrassing losses for the University of North Carolina.

Kansas had

control of the game from the very beginning; in the late first half the Tarheels

were trailing 40 to12. In the second half , the number one overall seed in the

nation fought back cutting the game to a four point deficit, leaving Tarheel

fans thinking that they were about to witness a major comeback.

 

But in the end, Kansas held the lead and pulled out the win 84

to 66. Freshman Cole Aldrich held back the Tarheel’s All American phenom Tyler Hansbrough

as he out rebounded and swatted his shots.

 

Finally, the Alamo Dome in San Antonio

became the center of college basketball last night when Kansas

and Memphis

went head to head for the NCAA Title. Memphis is known for their dribble and drive

offense, but how would this stand up to Kansas’ defensive pressure?

 

So here we go. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead, but

Darnell Jackson of the Jayhawks made two free throws 12 minutes and five

seconds into the game to tie it up. Freshman point guard Derrick Rose realized

his shots were limited as the Jawhawks defense stopped his down the middle penetration.

At the end of the first half the University

of Kansas led Memphis 33 to 28.

 

In the second half, Rose took over the game, scoring 14 of

his team’s 16 points to lift the Tigers to a 60 to 51 lead with two minutes and

12 seconds left. Even still, the Tigers missed four pinnacle free throws down

the stretch that could have changed the outcome of the game.

 

Kansas’ Darrell Arthur

scored two points with one minute left to cut it to a two-point game. Mario

Chalmers hit a three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation, which tied up

the game sending it to over time. This was the seventh overtime game in NCAA championship

history. The Kansas Jayhawks maintained their lead throughout overtime and

sealed the win with a final score of 75 to 68.

 

“One Shining Moment” sung by the late R&B legend Luther

Vandross is the theme music at the end of each NCAA championship game. We hear

this while video of the most memorable and game changing moments in the

tournament is being shown.

 

The players dream of their team being the final

image, holding the championship trophy high, while confetti and flashing lights

are on them. Every college basketball player wants to be a part of this moment,

and for the University of Kansas Jayhawks – it was their time to shine.

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