A Weekend Of Madness
Only in the NCAA tournament do we get matchups from all corners of the country, with a few days’ notice to prepare a game plan. The chance for upsets increases, which makes these games so unique and it’s what separates this playoff from any other sport.
Thursday kicked off with the No. 13 seed Buffalo, dominating the No. 4 seed Arizona 89-68. The Wildcats a traditional powerhouse have been to the tournament 37 times from 1951 to 2018, the University of Buffalo has been to the dance just three times!
The No. 11 seed in the South region, Loyola of Chicago knocked off the No.6 seeded Miami Hurricanes at the buzzer 64-62. This might not have been that much of a surprise considering the Ramblers went into Gainesville on December 6th and beat the then No. 5 ranked Florida Gators 65-59.
Friday the upsets continued as No. 13 seed Marshall defeated No. 4 seed Wichita State 81-75, and the night was capped off by No.16 University of Maryland Baltimore County becoming the first ever 16 seed to ever knock off a No.1 seed, as they blew out the Virginia Cavaliers 74-54.
Saturday Loyola of Chicago continued its magic by beating SEC power Tennessee 63-62 to advance to the Sweet 16, and traditional powers Villanova, Duke and Kansas all advanced to next weekend.
On Sunday, the final day of the first two rounds concluded with five teams seeded lower than their opponents advancing. No. 9 seed Florida State was down 12 with 10:42 remaining in the second half but rallied to beat No.1 seed Xavier 75-70.
No.11 seed Syracuse won a dogfight with No.3 seed Michigan State 55-53. The Orange had to beat Arizona State in a play in game just to get to the tournament.
No.7 seed Nevada defeated No.2 seed Cincinnati, by overcoming a 22-point deficit in the final 11 minutes to stun the Bearcats and advance.
No. 7 seed Texas A&M which started off conference play 0-5, while they dealt with early season injuries and suspensions routed the reigning champion, the No. 2 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels 86-65, as the talented Aggies showed off their entire game to advance.
Finally No.5 Clemson took down No.4 Auburn 84-53, as the Tigers took advantage of an Auburn team that was the second youngest in the SEC behind Kentucky. Auburn lived and died by the three point shot all year to compensate for a lack of size and on this day they only shot 21.9 % (7-32) from beyond the arc. Now we await the fate of Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl, whose future is in jeopardy as the NCAA investigates his program.
After a weekend of upsets and buzzer beaters, we look ahead to the Round of 16, as the Madness Marches On!
Tags March Madness