Skip to content Skip to footer

The magic of March Madness: Photography that inspires champions

March is known as a month of magic and many things, but most importantly in the sports world, it is known for March Madness, when colleges from all across the country battle it out for the crown of “Best College Basketball Team.” The photography of March Madness can inspire anyone to be great.

This statement is the simplest of all ways to explain what happens in this tournament. It is a time where both casual and loyal fans watch every game intensely and what goes on across the tournament.

The magic of March Madness

There is love for the game and its inspiring stories of underdogs defying odds, but what is also big is the gambling and bracket aspect of March Madness. 

There is gambling in any sports league, but March Madness is so special because of the nature of the tournament. The matchups are not played in a series-style playoff format, but instead a 1 game playoff, which leads to upsets.

This word is the biggest talking point during March, and we also always hear the phrase “Cinderella team” thrown out there. For readers not familiar with March Madness, a Cinderella team is the low seed team that makes an incredible run in the tournament.

With that said of why the tournament is a beautiful draw, let us also explore why it inspires us so much. The photography of some of the biggest upsets in March Madness history is simply magical.

No. 16 UMBC over No. 1 Virginia, 2018

march madness photography
UMBC made history.

Never before had a 16 seed won a game in NCAA tournament history… of course until 2018, when the Retrievers took down the Virginia Cavaliers. 

It wasn’t a crazy last-second shot that gave them a win, but instead, a game that was completely one-sided, at least in the second half. UMBC beat Virginia handily, 74-54, and the excitement is on full display in this

An upset of any kind is rare, but a complete demolition may truly never happen again.

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 2 Georgetown, 2013

Florida Gulf Coast’s Eddie Murray hangs from the rim after a dunk as Brett Comer celebrates. (Michael Perez/AP)

As I mentioned prior, Cinderella teams begin to take the focus of the entire sports world, and in 2013, Florida Gulf Coast took the world by storm. FGCU not only beat Georgetown but then beat Sand Diego State, advancing to the Sweet 16.

However, focusing on this game, FGCU dunked all over Georgetown, something no one could expect. All their dunking led to a nickname of “Dunk City,” not the most creative nickname, but either way, their success cannot be questioned.

They completed a nice win then over Georgetown, by a score of 78-68.

The all-out delirium of the FGCU players, juxtaposed with Georgetown, wasn’t only apparent in this moment of this March Madness photography, but any shot taken at the end of this game.

No. 15 Lehigh over No. 2 Duke, 2012

Duke’s Austin Rivers scored 19 points off the bench, but the Blue Devils ran out of comebacks. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

In a battle of future NBA talent, CJ McCollum’s Lehigh team took down Austin Rivers and Seth Curry’s Duke team

Duke has had its fair shares of upsets, but no one truly expects without hindsight a first-round upset given up by a top college system like the Duke Blue Devils.

Well, McCollum and his 30 points ended Duke’s hopes of a National Championship.

No. 11 George Mason over No. 1 UConn, 2006

march madness magic
Before Rudy Gay became an All-Star with the Memphis Grizzlies the former Connecticut star lives through the agony of defeat at the hands of 11th-seeded George Mason in the 2006 Tournament. (Keres/AP/AP)

If this article was about the top Cinderella teams, this picture would have been a perfect example of the shock and disappointment that a Cinderella team can hand its opponents throughout the tournament.

Often regarded as one of the top Cinderella Teams the 2006 George Mason team, took down monster after monster, culminating in their win over UConn that had them advance to the Final Four.

The face of Rudy Gay (UConn #22) is the puzzling look most fans then had watching what George Mason accomplished in 2006.

No. 14 Mercer over No. 3 Duke, 2014

march madness magic
Mercer guard Kevin Canevari (3) dances with teammates after win in NCAA college basketball second-round game against Duke, Friday, March 21, 2014 in Raleigh, N.C. Mercer Won 78-81. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

A dance circle is a perfect way to celebrate, and boy did Mercer have its fun. They pumped each other up throughout the game and did the same in their post-win celebration, as the photography of this crazy March Madness moment can attest.

An upset is hard enough to handle (if you are on the losing side), but when it is in front of your own fans, the pill just may be too big to swallow.

Well, that is what happened in 2014, when Mercer took down the Blue Devils at PNC Arena in North Carolina.

Yes, just 2 years after Duke got upset in the first round by Lehigh, they had the same fate in 2014.

Upsets are what make March Madness and its photography magical

Whether with Cinderella teams or first-round upsets, March Madness year in and year out has its fair share of excitement.

There are a lot of upsets to chose from, but personally, I feel these were above and beyond some of the most exciting moments of basketball I have ever witnessed.

March Madness photography reminds us that the underdog can always win. And with conviction and confidence, magic can inspire in the air.