Another Cinderella Story

Daniel Lanza, Sports Editor

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The 2018-19 college basketball season ended with the University of Virginia winning the National Championship. As another season passed by, we were reminded yet again why college basketball is the most exciting sport to watch. From Zion Williamson, to Ja Morant, to Virginia, this season had no shortage of storylines and amazing moments.

The Big East this year was disappointing. St. John’s started the year off great, and were even ranked number 24 in the country at one point. Unfortunately, New York’s team collapsed on themselves and almost played themselves out of the tournament.They ended up losing in the play-in game for the tournament. No Big East team advanced past the Round of 32. Marquette couldn’t handle Ja Morant and Murray State in the Big Dance. Morant, a sophomore, came out of nowhere and was one of college basketball’s most exciting players. He proved to be too much for Marquette, scoring a triple double on them. Seton Hall, a team that played well during the final stretch of the year, could not beat Wofford in the first round. Finally, my Villanova Wildcats, the 2018 champions, could not get past Purdue in the Round of 32. This was a transition for the Wildcats, as they lost four stars to the NBA this year. They did end up winning the Big East Tournament this year, a feat they’ve accomplished the past three years.

One can’t talk about this season of college basketball without mentioning Zion Williamson. The Duke freshman had a perfect combination of size, speed, and skill. If he were in the NBA right now, he would be the second biggest player in the league. That kind of size is unheard of in college basketball, especially for a freshman. His dunks and ability to dominate a game made Duke basketball a must-watch. Zion wasn’t the only star player on Duke. RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish were both top freshmen recruits. Not many thought Duke could lose with a core three like Duke had this year.

Unfortunately for Duke, we were reminded yet again this year that teams built on one-and-done freshmen don’t normally win in March. This March, the story was the University of Virginia. After brutally losing to 16-seed UMBC last year in the first round, they looked as though they had a chip on their shoulder. They bounced back this year in a big way, winning the tournament. By going from being the biggest upset in the sport’s history to National Champions, Virginia proved that Cinderella stories will happen in March. Part of the reason for Virginia’s success this year is that they didn’t forget about the UMBC game. Rather, they used it as fuel and motivation to be better this year. Virginia’s star player, Kyle Guy, is quoted as saying that the UMBC game was the second best thing to happen to him, after getting engaged. He ranked that game above winning the championship. That’s the maturity and attitude that defines a champion.