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Column: Flops and Bops of the 2022 NCAA Tournament

Lu Calzada | The PhoenixAll three Loyola Phoenix sports editors traveled to Pittsburgh to cover Loyola's first round March Madness matchup against Ohio State University,

The lights are off in college basketball arenas around the country as their seats sit empty and waiting for next season. This tournament was one to remember, with many fun and unexpected moments both on and off the court for teams and their fans.

With this year’s March Madness behind us, I’m here with my take on the bops and flops — or, hits or misses — of the tournament.

Bop: St. Peter’s University

This tournament has made me a Peacocks stan for life. St. Peter’s put the madness in March Madness this year and charmed the world with its Cinderella Run as a 15-seeded team, and I even wrote a column about how I felt about it. Nothing but love from one Cinderella school to another.

Not only was the story heartwarming, but the players and coaches were too. Shaheen Holloway’s fearlessness and his team’s dedication to the program were college basketball at its best. I also voted them No. 1 mascot in Phoenix Sports’ official mascot column. #StrutUp.

Flop: My Bracket

I’m going to keep it completely real with you, my readers, and tell you I make at least a third of my bracket on vibes and what I think would be funny. This year, I thought it would be fun to put the University of Texas at Austin as my championship team solely because I’m from Texas. I picked a few random upsets along the way, and my entire Final Four was wrong.

My bracket finished at a firm fifth out of seventh in the Phoenix’s bracket challenge group. I may be about to graduate as a Division I sports editor for a March Madness team, but I will continue to make my bracket with minimal thought for years to come. 

Bop: Our Staff Trip to Pittsburgh

We were there for two full days, but it was two full days to remember. I had a chance to sample the fine cuisine of western Pennsylvania — the closest Mexican restaurant to our hotel — and experience unseasonably warm weather that made me even sadder to return to Chicago after the Loyola loss.

I had also never been to Pennsylvania before, so I enjoyed the chance to go to a new place and eat one of the best tomato soups and grilled cheeses of my life at a nearby restaurant after a Loyola open practice. 

Flop: Gonzaga University

Is this mean? Maybe it is. Anyways, Gonzaga flopped in the eyes of the Phoenix’s official bracket after almost the whole staff picked them to win it all in the editorial. However, at least a portion of this staff are liars, as their personal brackets don’t have Gonzaga as the champion.

I do sincerely hope that Gonzaga makes it out of its flop era next year and goes even further, because I think they have the potential after all this time as one of the top teams. As all things in March Madness, it remains to be seen.

Bop: Our Writers, Gabbi and Jack

No. 1-seeded University of Kansas took a 72-69 victory over No. 8-seeded University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the national championship game April 4, securing the Jayhawks’ fourth title in program history.

So, where do our beloved writers Jack and Gabbi come into this? Well, both are from Kansas City and expressed interest in the team, and Gabbi even attended one of Kansas’ tournament games.

Congrats to both our Kansas City writers, we’re glad to have you here on our little Chicago sports section.

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