Before the NBA playoffs start on April 15, let’s have one final chat about March Madness! HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY spoke with CBS Sports anchor Allie LaForce, and she dished on South Carolina’s shocking performance, Duke and Villanova’s upset and SO much more!
Wherever there’s three-pointer being shot or a pass intercepted, Allie LaForce, 28, is there! The seasoned sports fanatic just got through another year of her favorite event, March Madness, and she broke down the close finishes, upsets, epic match-ups and SO much more! Before we get started, it’s only right that we congratulate the Tar Heels on their epic National Championship win!
What were some of your favorite moments from March Madness 2017?
Wisconsin and Villanova: “This year we had Wisconsin, who took down the number one overall seed in the tournament, and Villanova was right there to witness it,” Allie said. “It came down to the very last second and it was Villanova who had the ball in their hand, with the chance to make a difference. And, that’s the best scenario you can ask for. It didn’t come through, but seeing the excitement for Wisconsin and the heartbreak for Villanova; the way they handled the loss with such poise and class; we can all take something away from that incredibly emotional moment. They acted like true professionals. It’s really a job for these guys.”
Disclaimer, this one could still hurt: “A lot of people thought we would see Duke and Villanova get further than they did,” she said. Ah, it still stings. The “element of surprise” is in an NCAA tournament must-have.
The tales of 2017: “There were lot of great storylines this year,” Allie said.
1. Baylor — “They didn’t get any votes in the beginning of the year. They really played with a chip on their shoulder.”
2. Wisconsin — “They came in with their seniors having been to the Sweet 16 every single year. But, they never had that time where they were able to say that they made it to a National Championship. That‘s what was driving them.”
3. South Carolina — “They were so fearless. And, beating Duke the way they did… [see the next question].
4. Florida — “Their consistency down the stretch really stood out.”
What teams shocked you the most during the tournament?
“South Carolina pulling the upset over Duke. I mean, we knew their defense was so great all season; forcing turnovers and being ranked one of the best defenses in the nation. But, we didn’t know that they could do what they could offensively in the second half.” And, that, is something we can all agree on. “They stayed persistent, listened to the coach, made constant adjustments and they never seemed intimidated. South Carolina was hands down the biggest surprise of the year in my opinion.” Wow!
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What do we need to see from an epic March Madness tournament?
“It’s so much of a let down if we don’t see close finishes and upsets and everything that makes us so excited for March,” Allie admitted. But, it’s the fairytale aspect that really gets her every time. “I think the greatest part of March Madness is that everyone truly believes that they have a chance; and they do have a chance. Fans all around the country from smalls schools, big schools, and schools that struggled throughout the year [doesn’t matter], because everyone is on a level playing field. Anything can happen.”
What was the worst part about March Madness?
Alright, there wasn’t a bad part about Allie’s favorite event, BUT she did admit that there was an upsetting element to it… “The saddest day is always the day after the national championship, when you go to turn on the TV and there aren’t 10 games going on.” SO true!
How have you seen March Madness evolve over the years?
“I haven’t seen it change in terms of the game, but I think the biggest way it’s evolved is with the selection committee and how they choose the teams that get into the tournament,” Allie revealed. “It sparks so much debate and conversation and controversy, and it really allows for us to look at the selection process differently. They have all the criteria that they use, but there’s an element of them just being subjective. They try not to be but they are human beings. I think there are a lot of fans that think they got cheated but those are the same teams that remember that the next year and they use that as their motivation to get in. But, the passion and personal involvement and connection is probably at an all time high right now.”
Finally, Allie’s favorite moment from the tournament — Her partnership with Reese’s!
Allie teamed up with the tasty brand for the third year in a row, to celebrate the excitement of March Madness through social media. They worked on the campaign, “#ReesesForTheWin“, which allowed fans to join the NCAA conversation and get creative, while munching on their favorite snack, of course! “Fans were able to share their true frustrations, emotions and passions during March Madness while using the hashtag,” Allie gushed.
Although Reese’s peanut butter cups are her favorite, Allie enjoyed seeing the posts from fans the most this year. “It was honest and fan friendly… It’s been really fun to see the fans feel like they were in it and directly involved with what was happening. They were able to sort of take a break from reality and feel like they were a part of something bigger. That’s something Reese’s is truly good at.”
HollywoodLifers, now that March Madness is over, tell us your picks for the NBA playoffs!