The Best Storylines of March Madness 2022

Zeno Minotti, Sports Editor

The 2022 March Madness men’s basketball tournament marked the return of full capacities, a full college schedule, and one of the most memorable tournaments in recent history. Below are some of the best storylines of the tournament:

Kansas completes the largest comeback in championship game history:

Despite being a number one seed heading into the tournament, Kansas was largely overlooked compared to the other favorites of the tournament. However, their scoring depth among their starters separated them from any other team in the tournament. They rode the hot hands of players like Ochai Ogbaji, David McCro mack, Jalen Wilson, Christian Braun, and Remy Martin in various parts of the tournament. In the championship game, down by fifteen points at halftime to a North Carolina team that was playing at the top of their game, Kansas’ situation looked bleak. That is, until the Jayhawks came out of the locker room looking like a completely different team. They dominated the start of the second half before pulling out the victory in a back and forth final five minutes.

Saint Peter’s Cinderella run:

Led by head coach Shaeen Holloway, the Saint Peter’s Peacocks went farther into the tournament than any fifteen seed had before; all the way to the elite eight. As 18-point underdogs, their upset of Kentucky in the first round marks the fifth-largest upset in tournament history. This, along with their two other victories in the tournament was especially shocking coming from a school whose basketball gym, “Run baby, run” arena, seats just 3,200 people .

For comparison, Kentucky’s arena seats 23,500 people. Kentucky also receives 12.5 times more funding. Holloway is moving on to coach the distinguished Seton Hall Pirates, while three of the team’s breakout stars, Daryl Banks III, Doug Edert, and Matthew Lee are all entering the transfer portal.

Mike Krzyzewski’s farewell tour:

After falling in Krzyzewski’s final home game to rival North Carolina, it looked as though Coach K’s final season of his historic career would end too soon. In the tournament, Duke’s young team proved otherwise. They rallied behind their coach as he reached his thirteenth career final four. Led by future lottery pick Paulo Banchero and the balanced scoring behind him, Duke certainly made their coach’s final March Madness run a memorable one despite falling to archrival North Carolina.

The return of the blue bloods:

After the 2020 tournament was canceled, the 2021 tournament was filled with upsets, especially in the first round. High seeds were knocked out in every round. Ohio State fell to Oral Roberts, Purdue to North Texas, Abilene Christian over Texas, UCLA over Michigan, and many more. While the 2022 tournament had its fair share of upsets as well (see above, Saint Peter’s), the final four consisted of four of the most dominant programs in college basketball: Duke, North Carolina, Villanova, and Kansas. Ultimately, Kansas’ title was the eighth national championship for the final four teams since 2008 alone.

This problem also appears in our April 2022 print edition.