March is a busy month, both within sports and within the Catholic church. Lent begins, Easter is fast approaching, and the Men’s College Basketball tournament known as “March Madness” is beginning.
March Madness is a basketball tournament that features 64 of the best men’s college basketball teams from around the country. This includes public colleges, private colleges, and predominantly Catholic colleges.
Out of the 64 original March Madness teams in 2017’s tournament, 12 of the teams are Catholic colleges.
Those teams include Mount St. Mary’s University, Providence College, Villanova University, Marquette University, Gonzaga University, Notre Dame University, Xavier University, St. Mary’s college, Creighton University, Iona College, Setton Hall University, and the University of Dayton.
Catholic Colleges have long had a storied and prestigious history in the March Madness tournament. Here are some of the most iconic and memorable moments
In 1985, the tournament’s most storied round, “The Final Four”, featured Catholic Colleges in 3 of the tournaments 4 slots. These teams included were St. Johns university, Gonzaga, and Villanova. Villanova would go on to advance to the final game and win the championship.
Only two Catholic College would play in a title game after 1985. Seton Hall in 1989, and Villanova again in 2016.
In 2016, Villanova took down NCAA powerhouse North Carolina to win the title in what many consider to be one of the tournament’s greatest games of all time.
Catholic Colleges have a storied history and are always a constant in March Madness, which is appropriate considering the importance and value of the month of March in the Catholic faith.