March Madness Frenzy: The Miami Hurricanes Accelerate into the Final Four


Samantha Gonzalez

For the first time in school history, the Miami Hurricanes excel into the Final Four in the annual March Madness Tournament.

When March rolls around, basketball fans nationwide huddle around their devices to watch the annual phenomenon of March Madness. Hosted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, March Madness features a pool of 68 Division one college basketball teams, all competing for the same illustrious trophy that is awarded to the national champion.

Boasting a four game winning streak, the University of Miami men’s basketball team recently advanced into the Final Four for the first time in school history. They will oppose the University of Connecticut on April 1, with hopes of proceeding to the championship game.

What is March Madness?

From the opening tipoff, schools participating in the NCAA Tournament are ranked accordingly and placed in a single elimination bracket. With each startling upset to last-second buzzer beaters, the number of teams boils down to a round of 64 teams, 32 teams and so on. Typically, higher seeds will reach the Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four rounds. Every player and coach must come prepared to win a basketball game without counting the cost.

“March Madness is one of the most competitive seasons in basketball and teams have one chance to win their game or they’re out, which makes it so competitive,” freshman Cooper Piedra said.

Apart from the “madness” itself, groups of friends tune into primetime matchups between renowned college basketball programs across the nation. In addition, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network gives fans the opportunity to formulate March Madness brackets and pick the winners for each game.

On March 29., the International Baccalaureate Honor Society hosted its monthly meeting with March Madness as the central theme. Members received one hour for filling out their ‘IB Madness brackets’ which contained a wide variety of IB subjects. The ultimate subject was based on it having the highest global passing rate for 2022.

“Since we were having our monthly meeting for the month of March, and March Madness was extremely popular at the time, we thought that incorporating it into the IBHS meeting could be a fun, interactive activity for our members to enjoy. Everyone seemed to like creating their own brackets, especially since there was a prize for the winner at the end, so I’d say it was a success,” senior Isabella Morales said.

UM Men’s Basketball

Falling short in the American Coastal Conference Tournament, the Miami Hurricanes qualified for March Madness with 15 wins and 5 losses. The Hurricanes toppled Drake University during its opening game, outscoring the Bulldogs 63 to 56. In the second round, Jim Larrañaga and his squad bested the Indiana Hoosiers despite being underdogs.

With 16 schools remaining, Miami overcame the number one seeded Houston Cougars, advancing to the Elite Eight for a second consecutive basketball season. Despite falling short in 2022, the Hurricanes refused to let history repeat itself against the Texas Longhorns.

“The Canes don’t have a deep roster, but any one of their players can take over a game. All of those players can score 20 points on a given night. Also, these players have stepped up their game when needed, this can be from Miller making every shot he takes, Wong making tuff shots, Pack lighting it up from the three, or even Omier, despite only being 6’7, grabbing the rim like he is 6’10,” freshman Mason Wheeler said.

By halftime, the players draped in orange and green suffered an eight-point deficit but grinded throughout the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes never completed a three-point shot but somehow victory was achieved. A final tally of 88 to 81 will earn Miami a spot in this year’s Final Four.

I was super excited that this is the first time in school history that they move on to the Final Four, and I celebrated with some friends at a watch party. They worked very hard this season and got better as a team and you could tell they wanted to win this last game,

— Joshua Markovitz

Once underdogs, the local Hurricanes are flying to Houston, Texas for another chance at the NCAA title. In some ways, the March Madness fever has drawn Coral Gables to their television screens.