The expression that’s why you play the game has truly applied to this year’s NCAA Tournament thus far as several top-seeded teams who had expectations of advancing further in the Big Dance are instead heading home.
Apart from #1 Seeds Villanova and Kansas and #2 Seeds Duke, Baylor and Purdue, several top seeds were surprisingly eliminated this past weekend, while their opponents and the aforementioned other top seeds are moving onto the Sweet 16, which will begin play March 22nd and 23rd.
— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) March 17, 2018
The first upset was huge as #1 overall seed Virginia not only lost to University of Maryland Baltimore-County (UMCB), but they fell hard 74-54 Friday night. It’s the first time a #16 seed beat a #1 seed in NCAA Tournament history. The Cavaliers were ranked #1 in the AP and Coaches poll the last month of the regular season and also won the ACC regular-season and Tournament Championships, and now they’re going home. Unfortunately, UMBC’s Cinderella season fell short as the Retrievers lost Sunday night to 9th seeded Kansas State 50-43. The Wildcats will make their first Sweet 16 since 2010.
— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 19, 2018
And then, there’s second ranked Michigan State facing an 11th ranked Syracuse team that sent the Spartans packing after a 55-53 nail-biter. Now mind you, the Orange was a First Four participant and had to beat Arizona State and then TCU in the first round before upsetting Ol Sparty. Coach Jim Boeheim and his Orange are now off to the Sweet 16 for the 23rd time in school history.
Up next: The second seeded Tar Heels of North Carolina squared off against 7th ranked Texas A&M and they were beaten badly 86-65. The win sending the Aggies to their first Sweet 16 for only the 5th time in school history. Of course, UNC is the defending National Champions. A Sweet 16 without them is a bit odd.
“Those kids on the court were my salvation” – Roy Williams pic.twitter.com/Na24ypGwjg
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 19, 2018
Another two seed Cincinnati lost to #7 Nevada 75-73. What made this game special is the fact that Nevada was down by 22 points before storming back to pull of the upset. The Wolfpack from the West are in the Sweet 16 for only the second time in school history.
Finally #1 Xavier was sent home by #9 Florida State 75-70 in a game that Xavier led until the final minutes of the game. The Seminoles will advance to their first Sweet 16 since 2011.
So, who’s next? Guess we’ll find out in the Sweet or Sour 16, Depending on your vantage point. See you Thursday.
Please e-mail Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter