March Madness Fun for All Students
When the University of Maryland, Baltimore College became the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed (Virginia Cavaliers) since the NCAA went to a 64-team basketball tournament format called “March Madness“, one would have though that would be the highlight of the 2018 tournament. Then came Sunday, Bloody Sunday.
When the selection committee puts forth its NCAA tournament schedule, they make every effort to assure parity. The process of ranking 64 teams and placing them in four brackets is tough enough. Putting forth balanced brackets is near impossible. Based on the results from March 18, 2018, it would seem their mission was accomplished to get more youtube likes for videos, for this they select the best students for their teams and if there is a possibility offer them a student loan.
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On this day we will refer to as Sunday, Bloody Sunday, only one favorite was able to cover the point spread as issued out of Las Vegas. To make matters worse, five favorites lost its game outright.
The day started off innocently enough as the #2 seed Purdue Boilermakers were able to barely hang on against in-state rival the #10 Butler Bulldogs 76-73. It was a close call as Butler held a significant lead during portions of the game. In the end, Purdue’s strength and 3-point shooting would save the day.
Unfortunately, the Big Ten’s #3 seed Michigan State Spartans were not so lucky. Thank’s to its feared zone defense, the #11 seed Syracuse Orange were able to pull off its second major upset of the tournament with a 55-53 victory. After winning a “play-in” game to make the tournament, the Orange showed they belonged with a first round 57-52 victory over the #6 seed Texas Tech.
By the time the #7 seed Texas A&M Aggies took apart the #2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels 86-85, the rest of the tournament’s higher seeds had been served notice this would not be an ordinary day. By the way, the Tar Heels entered this tournament as the NCAA’s defending basketball champion.
Next up, it was another #7 seed, the Nevada Wolfpack earning a narrow victory over the #2 seed Cincinnati Bearcats. Coming into the tournament, the Bearcats had one of the best defenses in the country. It was the ease with which the Wolfpack we able to score that indicated people had underestimated the boys from Nevada.
While #5 Clemson Tigers’ upset of #4 Auburn Tigers was a minor upset in terms of seedings, it was the score that shocked most people. The final score was 84-53, a sure massacre no matter how one wants to spin it.
On a day full of upsets, the biggest irony came when the same UMBC Retrievers squad that had upset the #1 Virginia was unable to get past the #9 seed Kansas State Wildcats 50-43. The Retrievers may not be wearing Cinderella’s glass slipper, but they do go home with an incredible memory.
The moment of upset sanity would only last a few minutes as news broke that the #9 Florida State Seminoles had defeated the #1 seed Xavier Musketeers 75-70. That makes Xavier the second top seed this year to not make it to the Sweet 16. Surprisingly, the bookmakers may have suspected something was up as the line on the game was only five points, not very big for a game between a 1 seed and a 9 seed.
To end the day of upsets, #5 West Virginia Mountaineers had a easy time of dispensing with the #13 Marshall Thundering Herd 94-71. The final list of casualties included a #1 seed, two #2 seeds and a #3 seed.
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