March Madness 2011: Tournament Summary and Championship Analysis

Steven BaldassariContributor IIIMarch 28, 2011

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

It's March again, but why all the madness? Well, heading into the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I National Championship Tournament, many analysts and fans alike felt that there was not one clear cut powerhouse team that was favored to win. We all expected to see an upset here and there. However, no one could have predicted the insanity that would unfold in this year's tournament. As fans, we watched upsets galore pile up as early as the first round of the Men's NCAA tournament.

FIRST ROUND UPSETS: In the first round of tournament play, we were surprised to see Morehead State's victory over the No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals, and the Richmond Spiders' victory over the No. 5 seed Vanderbilt Commodores.

The Kentucky Wildcats had a scare in their first game of this years competition. They narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of Princeton, the school known for scaring—and even beating—some of college basketball's most storied programs in the NCAA tournament. Although the Princeton Tigers never gave up, eventually they did fall to the Wildcats by a score of 59-57.

The No. 8 Butler Bulldogs, now in the Final Four, also had a scare in the first round. They won on a buzzer-beater over the No. 9 seed Old Dominion Monarchs, 60-58.

Some other notable upsets in the first round were: No. 11 seed Marquette defeating the No. 6 seeded Xavier squad 66-55, No. 11 Gonzaga rocking the No. 6 seed St. Johns 86-71 and the No. 11 VCU Rams beating the No. 6 seed Georgetown Hoyas by a final score of 74-56.

SECOND ROUND UPSETS: In the second round, the VCU Rams picked up right where they left off, continuing their upsetting ways. The Rams rolled into the Sweet 16 by destroying the Purdue Boilermakers 94-76.

In other news, the No. 10 seed Florida State Seminoles decided to beat up on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, stunning the No. 2 seed 71-57. In the East, the No. 11 seed Marquette Golden Eagles shocked the world by converting on a late three-pointer and taking down the Syracuse Orange 66-62.

The No. 8 Butler Bulldogs put their game together in the second round and prevailed over the tough No. 1 seed Pittsburgh Panthers in another close matchup, winning by a final of 71-70.

THIRD ROUND UPSETS: The No. 5 seed Arizona Wildcats narrowly defeated the No. 4 seed Texas Longhorns in Round Two 70-69. In the third round, they overpowered the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils, forcing their way into the Elite 8. Then they finally fell to the higher-ranked No. 3 UConn Huskies, who advanced to the Final Four.

The No. 4 seed Kentucky Wildcats' Brandon Knight did it again in Round Three. He knocked down his second winner of the postseason—a 15-footer with five seconds left—to lift the Wildcats to a 62-60 victory over the No. 1 seed Ohio State Buckeyes.

FOURTH ROUND UPSETS: Unlike the Arizona Wildcats, but reminiscent of the UConn Huskies, the Kentucky Wildcats were not eliminated in the Elite 8. Kentucky continued to play great basketball. They upset No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels 76-69 to join the UConn Huskies, Butler Bulldogs and the VCU Rams in the Final Four.

The No. 8 Bulldogs advanced by defeating the No. 2 seed Florida Gators 74-71.

VCU socked it to the last No. 1 seed in the tourney, Kansas, 71-61 to also press forward.

PREDICTIONS THAT CAME TRUE: Butler will remain on fire and take down the ferocious VCU Rams in the Final Four. Regardless of the true outcome of this game, whoever wins the Kentucky/UConn Final Four matchup will win the National Championship. This game promises to be a great, down-to-the-wire finish. But, in the end, UConn will tame the Wildcats and advance to—and win—the National Championship.

Must Read: March Madness 2011: NCAA Tournament Dates, Printable Bracket & Upsets

Must Read: March Madness 2011: Richmond Spiders Handle Highflyer Morehead State Eagles