Mateo Vasquez ’21
As this year’s March Madness tournament is drawing to a close, we had to say goodbye to our underdogs, Oral Roberts University, who lost to Arkansas by merely two points, and Loyola Chicago who was knocked out by the unexpected no. 12 seed Oregon State. However, there still remain a lot of teams that have shown great execution on defense and serve as a reminder that it is still anyone’s game. This tournament marks the first time since 2011 that the no.1 and no. 2 will not be competing against each other. As we push forward into the tournament, there are a few teams you are going to want to keep an eye on and possibly add to your second round brackets.
First, Baylor, which from the start has been a great no.1 seed and has been strong from the beginning. Baylor is one of those teams that the second they hit the court they know how to control it and just have complete dominance against their opponent. They destroyed Wisconsin and made a lot of people rethink having Villanova in their bracket. Baylor is able to execute on the turnovers and just keep cranking out a high volume scoring game that other teams have not been able to handle. If they remain consistent they would be able to see their first Final Four showing since 1950.
Regardless of if they are able to get into the Final Four, they have nevertheless shown that as a program they can produce incredible athletes and be real contenders on the court. However, another team with a lot of attention is the Oregon State Beavers, who took Loyola Chicago out of the tournament as well as big programs such as Tennessee and Oklahoma. One of the interesting things about the Beavers is that they are not afraid to make some riskier plays and they seem to be paying off. Taking 86% of their shots from the stripe compared to some of their opponents who are only hitting about 26%. They are making the Elite Eight after not making it this far in the tournament for 39 years.
Moving forward in the tournament, I would not be surprised if they were able to somehow make it into the final round of the tournament. The team as a whole has shocked many in the basketball world and have surprised many fans with how adventurous they are on the court.
From the teams that remain, there is such a high level of basketball being played and amazing work on the defensive end, making it quite exciting to watch.
While the offenses are definitely racking up the scoreboard, the defense on a lot of these teams are quick to change the direction of play and just lockdown a lot of the oncoming offensives forcing them to take shots they are not necessarily comfortable with.
Moving forward with the rest of the tournament, it will be amazing to see who moves on to the Final Four for a shot at victory and the Tripod will be there to cover the action every step of the way.