The Kansas Jayhawks hoist the national championship trophy after their victory credit: @marchmadnessmbb on Instagram

Every year, 64 NCAA basketball teams compete to claw their way through the six-round playoffs known as March Madness, complete with major upsets and thrilling games. This year was no exception, as many higher-seeded teams fell to those ranked below them accompanied by Cinderella stories and busted brackets.

The biggest story to come out of March Madness is fifteen seed Saint Peters Peacocks plowing their way into the elite eight and stunning the world because of the run they produced in the tournament. Saint Peters defeated Kentucky in the first round, knocking off one of the most dominant teams coming into the bracket and one of the fan favorites to win it all. From there, the Peacocks defeated Murray State and Purdue, an additional favorite and a consistent top seed during the regular season. The incredible run was ended in the elite eight when the Peacocks lost to North Carolina 69-49.

The most important part of March Madness, however, is the final four and the teams that paved their way into it. In 2022, those teams were the Villanova Wildcats, North Carolina Tarheels, Duke Blue Devils, and Kansas Jayhawks. All four teams are very experienced in the tournament and are known as “blue bloods,” some of the most dominant teams in college basketball history.

The Wildcats had a fairly easy road to the final four, as they did not play many high seeds like some of the other teams did. The Wildcats easily defeated Delaware and Ohio State in the first and second rounds. From there they had two fairly close games between Michigan and Houston, teams that showed recent dominance in the tournament and were looking to make the final four for the second year in a row. Ultimately, the Villanova season ended with an 81-65 loss to the Jayhawks.

Duke, looking to cap off Coach K’s final season with a sixth championship, came into the tournament fairly slow, with a rough finish to the regular season. However, they were successful in getting the job done. They defeated CS Fullerton, Michigan State, and Texas Tech to make the Elite Eight, where they were matched up against Arkansas. A team coming off an impressive win against the unanimous one-seed, Gonzaga. The Blue Devils run fell short in the Final Four to the Tarheels, the first-ever in tournament matchup between one of the strongest rivalries in basketball.

The Tarheels, a team that barely made the tournament, displayed their strengths to their greatest ability to lead themselves to a championship appearance. The Tarheels began the tournament with a dominant win against Marquette and then knocked out the reigning champs, Baylor. From there, UNC defeated UCLA, one of last year’s Cinderella stories, in order to match up against Saint Peters in the Elite Eight. UNC easily defeated the Peacocks, solidifying themselves as an underdog in the tournament and one of the best teams in college basketball. The Tarheels faced Duke in the Final Four, a major opponent in a historic rivalry, and came up on top in a 4 point win to advance to the championship.

Kansas was an overlooked one seed going into the tournament, however, they proved to fans and viewers that they were nothing of the sort. The Jayhawks defeated team after team until they finally faced a tough matchup against Miami in the elite eight, where they were able to outscore the Hurricanes 47-15 in the second half and reach the final four. The Jayhawks then defeated Villanova to make the championship. Kansas was set to play UNC in the championship, where they defeated the Tarheels in the largest comeback in championship History in a 72-69 victory.

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