Phillies alma maters well represented in March Madness

Adam Haseley #7 of the Virginia Cavaliers (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Adam Haseley #7 of the Virginia Cavaliers (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /

College Basketball begins the first round of its “big dance” on Friday — the 64-team tournament phenomenon that captures nearly every sports fan for the better part of three weeks. The drama and excitement instilled by March Madness are second to none in the collegiate sports world, filled with upsets and moments of glory in many “David vs. Goliath” sort of moments. Here are three of the several alma maters of current members of the Philadelphia Phillies — whether it be from their 40-man roster or coaching staff — that are represented in this year’s bracket:

University of Oklahoma — Phillies RHP Chase Anderson

Starting rotation addition Chase Anderson was a former Sooner, helping to lift Oklahoma to a College World Series regional at the same time Blake Griffin was leaving his mark on a dominant Sooner basketball team.

Oklahoma comes into this year’s tournament as an eighth seed and has a good shot at winning their first-round matchup against the University of Missouri — before facing a steep challenge against Gonzaga, the top seed in the tournament.

University of Virginia Phillies — OF Adam Haseley

Perhaps the favorite among the Phillies alma maters to take the tournament, Adam Haseley’s University of Virginia has become a staple in the tournament.

Coach Tony Bennett plays a widely recognized pace of play with stingy defense, placing Virginia as tournament victors in 2019 (2020 tournament was canceled). Haseley was a first-rounder from UVA, with an insane junior season in which he hit nearly .400, while also starring on the mound for the Cavaliers. The No. 4 seed in the West Region, Virginia has a chance to surpass the first couple rounds before a likely date with Gonzaga.

Texas Tech University — Phillies Hitting Coach Joe Dillon

An alma mater of a member of the Phillies coaching staff also has a stake in the outcome of the tournament — hitting coach Joe Dillon, who has made an immediate positive impact on the team’s hitting approach and philosophy.

A Texas Tech alumnus, Dillon was a monster at the dish in college, perhaps aided by the fact that bats were still very much juiced up. The Red Raiders face an interesting challenge in Utah State and play through the rising star Mac McClung, a transfer for Georgetown.

The 2021 tournament is a welcome return to normalcy for American sports fans who have been craving just a little bit of relaxation after a very tumultuous year. March Madness is always a three-week thrill ride, and I expect one surprise after the next. Apologies in advance to all the busted brackets.

More. Projecting the 2021 Philadelphia Phillies Opening Day roster. light