March brings the madness

With April showers arriving, spring has sprung. With this change of season comes the end of the 2016-2017 NCAA basketball season. While many went mad over the men’s division one tournament, results from all three divisions are worthy of note.

In the division three women’s tournament, Amherst College came out on top, defeating Tufts in a 52-29 blowout in the final. Amherst was consistently dominant throughout the tournament. Their smallest margin of victory came against the University of Mary Washington, a game Amherst won by nine points. A number of Wisconsin teams made appearances in the tournament as well. UW- Whitewater suffered a first round defeat to Hope College, 78-71. UW- Superior suffered a similar early demise, falling to St. Thomas 98-56 in the round of 64. That said, Wisconsin’s greatest bane appeared to be Washington University St. Louis. Wash U took down St. Norbert in the first round 73-54, and felled UW- Oshkosh in the third round, 64-49. UW- Oshkosh was Wisconsin’s top appearing team in the women’s division three tournament this year. This season, Lawrence faced the St. Norbert team, falling 70-37.

On the division three men’s side, Babson College reigned supreme, edging out Augustana College in the final, with a score of 79-78. Wisconsin teams put on a strong showing in the men’s tournament. Both UW- River Falls and UW- Whitewater made it out of the first round. Both teams however were eliminated in the round of 32. Additionally, U.W. Oshkosh appeared, but was knocked out in the first round. Finally, conference rival Ripon College qualified for the tournament, but fell in the first round to Washington University St. Louis. This season Lawrence faced the Whitewater team once, falling 97-17. The Vikings also faced Ripon twice, falling 82-44 and 83-67.

While Lawrence did not qualify for the national tournament, men’s or women’s, the performances of conference rivals St. Norbert and Ripon demonstrates that schools of Lawrence’s caliber can be successful on the national stage.

In the men’s division II tournament, Northwest Missouri State University bested Fairmont state for the division two title, 71-61. UW- Parkside was the only Wisconsin team to appear in the tournament, falling to Bellarmine in the first round, 72-61. In the women’s division II tournament, Ashland flattened Virginia Union 93-77 to claim the title. No Wisconsin teams appeared in the tournament this year.

In the men’s division 1 tournament, North Carolina defeated Gonzaga in the final, with a score of 71-65. UW- Madison was the only Wisconsin team in the tournament this year. The Badgers made an impressive run, defeating Virginia Tech in the first round, Villanova in the second and falling to Florida in the third.

Finally, in the women’s division 1 tournament, South Carolina reigned supreme, defeating Mississippi state 67 to 55 in the final. Two Wisconsin teams appeared in the tournament, but neither made it out of the first round. UW- Green Bay fell to Purdue, 74-62, and Marquette fell to Quinnipiac 68 to 65. This tournament was of particular note, as it saw the end of the University of Connecticut’s 111 game win streak. In the Semifinals, UConn faced Mississippi and lost 66-64. The streak, which began in 2014, included two national championships.

As always, March Madness proved to be an exciting start to the spring. With the tournament at its close, it comes time to reflect on the past season’s victories and defeats and to begin crafting one’s bracket for the 2018 tournament.