The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most-watched sporting events in sports. People from across the world tune in and watch college athletes trying to make a run in the tournament. From bracket busters to upsets and Cinderella teams, March Madness always has excitement to it.
This year there will be no cinderella team or even an NCAA champion due to the coronavirus. Many players had their dreams crushed when they found out the news. While people reminisce about previous tournaments, there was a Cinderella team that made a run in the tournament 14 years ago, and that was George Mason University.
George Mason’s March Madness Run
George Mason’s men’s basketball came into the 2006 NCAA Basketball Tournament as the No. 11 seed. The team finished with a 27-8 overall record and even made the top 25 rankings during the season for the first time in school history. The school never won an NCAA Tournament game coming into the tournament.
As a mid-major school, George Mason received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They were the No. 11 seed. To start the tournament off, they defeated a Michigan State team, who was a No. 6 seed, in the first round. Michigan State made it to the Final Four in the previous year. That win by George Mason gained a lot of people’s attention.
George Mason had another big task the second round going against the defending national champions, North Carolina. In a hard-fought game, George Mason defeated No. 3 seed North Carolina 65-60 to advance to the Sweet 16. Now it was on to the Elite 8 and everyone was following the Cinderella team.
The game against No. 1 seed UCONN
In the Elite 8 game, George Mason battled against the UCONN Huskies. The winner of the game would advance to the Final Four. No one thought that George Mason would make it this far. After defeating the defending national champions, the game prior, George Mason had a lot of confidence going into the game. In a game that featured current NBA Rudy Gay, UCONN was determined to make their way to the Final Four.
UCONN was one of the favorites to win it all the entire season. But George Mason had something to say about that. George Mason fell behind after the first half but clawed their way in the second to tie the game up and force it into overtime. In one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history, George Mason defeated UCONN 86-84.
Cinderella story comes to an end
The Cinderella story would end for George Mason as they lost to the eventual champions, Florida 73-58, in the Final Four. For a team who did not win their conference tournament and still make it that far in the tournament was a success.
That George Mason team put the school on the map, and the school was known as a basketball school after that performance. That’s why people enjoy March Madness because of the schools that make a big run when no one thought that it could happen.