What just happened? If you're keeping track of March Madness, it's like April Fool's! Anyone who started a bracket with their team favorites is likely shaking their heads. But, there's A LOT we can learn from this years NCAA tournament. So here's the latest...
One of the major upsets is Duke as Zion Williamson’s run ended on Sunday. With 24-points and 14-rebounds, the Blue Devils fell to the Michigan State Spartans, 68-67.
“A lot is going through our mind right now,” Zion told reporters. “We’re very upset, obviously, because you know we wanted to go to the Final Four. But, congrats to Michigan State, they deserve it. Just looking around the locker room and seeing your teammates, your brothers, and you just think, 'This group will probably never play together again.”
There was a lot of hype about Zion, the freshman whose projected to be among the first picks in this year's 2019 Draft. But, hopes aren't diminished. Williamson is the only freshman to score over 100 points in one tournament since Derrick Rose over 10 years ago.
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke's beloved coach said about the loss, “To me it's disappointing, it’s not a disappointing year. There’s a big difference. This team put themselves in a position to go for it and had a chance for it. And, so, it's disappointing that they didn't get there. But I'm proud of them. And with the young group, you would want as much continuity as possible. And the whole second half of the year we were, with injuries, we were never able to establish that.”
Michigan State is going to the Final Four under legendary coach Tom Izzo. Izzo struggled with a 1-11 record against No. 1 seed Duke. After the win, he was asked about that struggle and what the win meant to him. Izzo stated, "To be the best, you've got to beat the best, and there's no question they're [Duke] the best." However, with the huge upset over Duke, Izzo and his team are preparing for the next battle ahead.
Michigan will face Texas Tech on Saturday.
Update: Texas Tech beat Michigan 61-51 and will face Virginia, Monday April 8th.
What life lessons can we learn from this? The prophet Paul said, "I know how to abase and abound," meaning, know that there will be game-winning seasons when you're feeling unstoppable. And, then, there will be times of testing. During the testing seasons, work on building up your areas of weakness so you can be stronger for the next season. And, don't give up. Never let one season or one injury defeat you mentally.
Even if another team is No. 1, or you're facing an obstacle in life that looks impossible, ask Father God in Jesus' name for help and mercy and keep reading your Bible. The Bible states, "For nothing is impossible with God." You want to be ready when God opens a door or window of opportunity. It won't help to walk into a new opportunity like a new job and not be prepared.
And lastly, let God lead you. Maybe an injury or a setback is a time to go back and finish something you started. It might be time to go back to school and finish your degree. It might be time to write the book or take a course that can advance your career. Remember, the arrow is first pulled back in the bow before it's released forward.
Enter into His courts with praise! Shop for men's basketball products here.
For the first time in school history, 5th seed Auburn made it to the Elite Eight. And, after Sunday's overtime win over 2nd seed Kentucky (77-71), they're heading to the Final Four. Coach Bruce Pearl said, "This one was for Chuma! The next two are for Auburn."
Don't Give Up. Step Up.
Chuma Okeke's knee injury has him benched the rest of the season with a torn ACL when he played against the NC Tar Heels. Despite his injury, Okeke showed up in a wheelchair to cheer his teammates on. He sat in his hotel the first half of the game but realized he couldn't help from a hotel. Chuma said, "I can't stay here. I got to go." He was rolled out to the bench to support his fellow Tigers.
Jared Harper scored 26 points with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Bryce Brown contributed 24 points while McLemore added 8 points and 5 rebounds.
Auburn's visit to the Elite Eight is its first in 33 years.
Update: Virginia beat Auburn 63-62 and will face Texas Tech Monday, April 8th at 9:20 pm on CBS.
What's the lesson to learn here? Be ready. Jesus said "Jesus said, "Whatever you desire when you pray, believe you have already received it and it shall be yours." While a No. 1 team like Kentucky looks unbeatable, it can happen. What's significant about the Auburn upset is that Okeke was injured and he rallied around his team who stepped up despite his injury. They didn't let his season-ending injury get to them. And, that's where some people aren't ready for opportunities.
Work on your mental game. Just because the person next to you is injured or down doesn't mean you stop giving your best. Be Persistent. Perseverance and determination eventually pay off so be in it to win it. In work, in school, at home, give it your best and finish strong. Keep reading your Bible for inspiration and encouragement. And, work on keeping your focus so you don't get distracted.
Lastly, follow through despite the obstacle. Just like Chuma showed up to rally the Tigers, show up every day and don't let one injury or setback stop you. Prepare for the next season or that next opportunity.
You might be strong on the court, but are you strong in your heart? Is Jesus leading the way for you? Keep in mind, strong men don't always start that way. They might have past mistakes they regret or things they weren't taught growing up. But, Jesus teaches us that old things are passed away so remember, don't look back.
Don't Live a Life of Regret...Rewrite the Script.
As you grow in Christ, you become a new creation so every day is a chance to be better. Like those season-ending injuries. Don't let them stop you from pushing past the pain or the obstacles from your past. You don't want to live a life of regret for a past you can't change or obstacles you can't move on your own. Leave that to God.
The definition of regret is to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or that you did before, especially a loss or missed opportunity. You can make the mistake of regretting your past and thinking you can't have a better life for yourself, but that's not true.
The devil tries to make people think they can't do better because he wants them to stay stuck in depression, turn to drugs and alcohol or numb their minds with other addictions so they eventually give up and commit suicide. But, that's not God. It's the devil trying to fill you with lies When we call on God in Jesus' name and confess sins, God sees our sins no more and Jesus washes us clean. So, all things are new, meaning, we have a new life in Christ and new opportunities.
Do what you can. Let God do what you can't. Focus on who you are today and what you can do today. God will help you with tomorrow. God calls us his sons and daughters, a royal priesthood, a chosen generation, and heirs to His throne! We're His family and He's a covenant God meaning He is merciful and will ALWAYS make the way for us. Whatever you need help with, take it to God in prayer. God will not fail. He loves you so much!
The Prayer of Salvation
If you haven't said the Prayer of Salvation, now's the best time. Pray: Father God in the name of Jesus, Lord, I ask forgiveness of my sins. Please come into my heart, Lord. I turn my back on sin and I make you my Lord and Savior. I want to follow you for the rest of my life. Please give me eternal life through you in Jesus name, Amen.
If you're already saved, but turned your back on God, now's the time to make things right. Don't let the devil make you feel bad about your past mistakes any longer. In Christ, you're a new creation and you have a Father God who loves you. Old things are passed away and God remembers our sins no more. Won't you please come back home to Father God and Jesus? Pray the prayer below to rededicate your life to Christ.
Rededicate Your Life to Christ Prayer
If you need to rededicate your life to Christ because you feel like you've been sinning or haven't been living right, pray: Father God in the name of Jesus, I ask forgiveness of my sins and I turn my back on sin. Please help me to overcome ---- and I want to lead a better life through you. I decree and declare this day I have overcome ---- and I have the victory in Jesus name, Amen.
Stay away from sin and temptation, keep reading your Bible and keep seeking God first. He will make the way for you - He's the Way-Maker! And, with Jesus first in your life - Nothin' but net!