March Madness First Weekend Review

Luke Hanna, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The first and second round of the NCAA tournament played out this past weekend and if your bracket isn’t messed up already, you deserve some credit. After the first two days of the tournament, Thursday and Friday, no one still had a perfect bracket. Although the first round played out pretty wild, I’m sure your bracket was perfect, the teams just didn’t meet expectations.

Through the first day of the tournament, the higher seeds won all of their games up until about 5 p.m. Tennessee, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Duke helped keep people’s brackets alive in pretty easy wins with the exception of the Gonzaga game which came down to the wire.

Then the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago met up with the Hurricanes of Miami. A head-to-head matchup with a possible upset in the hands of Loyola. The Ramblers went down 62-61 with seven seconds left in the game. Then it happened, Donte Ingram of Loyola-Chicago gave us the first upset of the tournament with a game winning three point shot.

The rest of the day didn’t have any big shockers. Unless you consider the Arizona Wildcats, a team that 18 percent of brackets had heading to the Final Four, losing to the 13-seed Buffalo Bulls a big deal. Buffalo was 0-3 in the tournament until Thursday night where everyone thought they had given us the biggest upset of the tournament.

The second day seemed a little more eventful. With bigger seeded schools such as Wichita State, Arkansas, Creighton, TCU, and Missouri losing to the underdogs, brackets were crushed for sure.

Let’s say you were able to call all of these upsets correct. This could be the year someone has a perfect bracket and the upsets were finished. You probably went out with your friends that night, because surprising would happen in the tournament after Marshall beat Wichita State.

If this is you, the UMBC Retrievers spoiled all of your plans. At the half, The Retrievers were tied with the number one overall seed Virginia Cavaliers. Even if the game is tied at halftime, there is no way Virginia is going to lose this game right? Well, you’re wrong. The Cavaliers were the first one seed to ever lose to a 16 seed in tournament history, and they lost by 20 points. Sadly, this Cinderella story would end soon for the fighting Retrievers of UMBC in the second round as they lost to Kansas State.

The South region had some crazy finishes in the lower half of the second round. The Ramblers, looking to spoil another high seeds plans, took on the Tennessee Volunteers. Again the Ramblers make the magic happen as they win on a go ahead basket by Clayton Custer to give them a 63-62 victory.

Still in the south region another key matchup, Nevada versus Cincinnati. With 16 minutes left in the game, Nevada found themselves losing to the number two seed by 20 points. Then the momentum changed. Nevada went on a 25-6 run to be down one with four minutes remaining. Then with the game tied 73-73, Josh Hall of Nevada comes in clutch with the go ahead floater in which the Cincinnati Bearcats could not match.

Now in the South region the highest seed to reach the Sweet 16 is the Kentucky Wildcats with all of Virginia, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Arizona losing. This is the first time in the South region that none of the one through four seeds have made it to the Sweet 16.

Another one seed found themselves at the hands of defeat in the second round as Xavier lost to Florida State. In a game that looked like Xavier had a good chance of winning, The Seminoles of Florida State came in clutch taking the lead with only a minute left.

The last upset of the first weekend of the tournament where Syracuse played spoiler to Michigan State’s big plans. On Sunday evening, Syracuse played a terrific game in which they were able to come up with the slight victory over Michigan State, 55-53.

With the first two rounds of play finished, only 16 teams remain. Some key matchups to watch would be both Duke versus Syracuse, and Loyola-Chicago versus Nevada where one of these 11 seeds plan on taking their talents into the Elite Eight. Also important to watch this weekend would be Kansas State taking on Kentucky as well as Florida State matching up against Gonzaga where these two nine seeds plan on ruining the plans for these two tough championship caliber squads.


Sweet 16 Predictions:

  • Kentucky over Kansas State; 76-71
  • Loyola Chicago over Nevada; 65-62
  • Gonzaga over Florida State; 85-74
  • Michigan over Texas A&M; 75-70
  • West Virginia over Villanova; 61-55
  • Purdue over Texas Tech; 70-69
  • Kansas over Clemson; 79-63
  • Duke over Syracuse; 64-63

March Madness Action continues with the Sweet 16 starting on Thursday night at 7 p.m. where Loyola-Chicago will take on Nevada.