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March Madness: The Best Basketball Happens Here

BY MORGAN LANDES | Ball State Sports Link
Being an Indiana kid, basketball was and still is, always on my radar. Basketball is my favorite sport and I can sit and watch games for hours on end without getting bored or tired.

However, when March rolls around, my excitement for basketball reaches a new level. March Madness, for both men’s and women’s basketball, is a high point of the season for many teams.

The fans, former players and coaches, and so many others get so into the tournament it is like nothing else is happening in March. It’s almost like March Madness is the only language people speak throughout the month.

Interviewing Syracuse coach, Quentin Hillsman upon arrival in Indianapolis at the 2016 NCAA Final Four.

March Madness is pretty neat, but you could say my career path is pretty cool, too.

I had the opportunity to work the NCAA Women’s Final Four last year in Indianapolis. I have to say, it was pretty sweet seeing UConn dominate the tournament in person. Witnessing greatness is always better when witnessed in person, especially basketball greatness.

Not only did I get to watch UConn do some damage, I also traveled with the Syracuse team once they arrived at the Final Four.  I interviewed coaches, players and fans about their Final Four experience.

I also shot highlights of practice and put together short videos for the NCAA to use on their social media accounts. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to work in this industry?

“Working” while building relationships and interviewing coaches, players, fans, AND getting to witness some of the biggest porting events in our country? Count me in.

Needless to say, the experience was amazing and being a girl who loves basketball, I could not have asked for a better opportunity.

There was nothing better than being able to watch UConn win the tournament and then turn around this year and extend its winning streak to 107 games.  The Huskies are looking for their 12th national title.

UConn is usually the talk of the tournament, but I am looking forward to seeing which teams compete with them when this year’s tournament starts Friday.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish gave UConn a run for its money early on in the season. The Huskies won by nine with a final score of 72-61. The Irish are 30-3 overall on the season and have momentum going into the tournament.

UND is a tournament top-seed for the seventh time and the sixth year in a row. The Irish are 27-5 all-time when playing as a No. 1 seed, including its run to the 2001 national championship. The Irish held a top seed for four years out of their recent run of five consecutive Final Fours from 2011-15.

If the Huskies have another head-to-head match-up with the Irish, I look for that game to have an interesting outcome and maybe even a huge upset in the tournament.

Baylor is another team to watch throughout the month of March. Baylor and Notre Dame are VERY similar teams. Like the Fighting Irish, Baylor is 30-3 on the season and only lost to UConn — by nine points.

If the Lady Bears survive a brutal regional that includes second-seeded and seventh-ranked Mississippi State (29-4), a third-seeded Washington team (27-5) that made it to last year’s Final Four and the Louisville Cardinals (27-7), they get another short trip to the Final Four at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

This is where March gets interesting.

UConn has played in some close games this season, but when Kia Nurse, Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams get hot on the court, is there any team who can put a stop to them?

Coming off a historic 40-point performance, shooting a flawless 10-10 from three-point range, Samuelson leads the UConn with 21.0 points per game. A unanimous selection to espnW All-America First Team, Samuelson is currently third in the nation with her 110 three-pointers made, which makes her only the fourth Husky all-time to nail 100 three-point field goals in one season.

My NCAA Women’s Final Four prediction? UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor and Oregon State.

As the Madness starts Friday, who is going to be make the Final Four this year? Are there going to be major upsets throughout the tournament? Will any team be able to defeat Katie Lou Samuelson and the Huskies?

The unknown to these three questions is what makes March Madness, mad.

About morganlandes (5 Articles)
Born and raised in Anderson, IN. Junior at Ball State University and studying Digital Sports Production. Member of Ball State Sports Link. Favorite Quote: "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

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