With March fast approaching, the NCAA basketball regular season is wrapping up as teams prepare for conference playoffs and, in less than a month, a potential shot at the Big Dance. For many of the athletes competing, it will be their first “normal” tournament, with full fan attendance back for the first time since 2019.
While I could wax poetic for hours about the beauty of the upset, the value of a completely open field, and the thrill of the Cinderella stories that March Madness presents, today we’re looking at whether last year’s winners will be able to run it back in the 2022 tournament. The 2021 Elite Eight was missing some usual powerhouses — the ACC didn’t get in at all — and featured some surprisingly low seeds, with an 11 and 12 seed each making an appearance. The field has certainly shifted this year, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see a few repeat appearances, as key players have returned and new stars have entered the scene.
So we’re checking in on the 2021 Elite Eight teams as we head into the 2022 tournament — will they be able to repeat their run, or was last year simply a fluke?