March Madness – A Year of Upsets


Courtesy of Sporting news and Mike DeCourcy.

Braeden Mischke, Reporter

March Madness has been nothing short of crazy this year, with upsets happening so often it seems as though the lower seed should be favored. Brackets were busted early in the first round with a couple top dogs going down, but why have there been so many upsets? Are these teams really true cinderella’s, or are the top seeds just not as good as they have been in previous years?

On the first day of the tournament, 4th seeded Arizona, with one of the most talented big men in the country in Deandre Ayton, took the floor against 13th seeded Buffalo. Buffalo took a 2 point lead into halftime. Arizona searched for answers early in the second half but found none. Buffalo took off, and quickly extended the lead to 15 points with only a few minutes to play. The final score was 89-68, with Buffalo dismantling the Arizona Wildcats.

Another big upset came just a few hours later when 11 seed Loyola-Chicago faced off against 6 seed Miami. This game went right down to the wire. Miami led 62-61 as freshman Lonnie Walker went to the free throw line for a 1 and 1 with 9.3 seconds to go. He missed the front-end, Loyola grabbed the rebound, sprinted up the court, and found Donte Ingram at the top of the key for a game-winning three with just 0.3 seconds left. Another top seed knocked off.

The second day of the tournament brought even more madness. The number one overall seed Virginia squared off against 16 seed UMBC. Virginia was the team to beat all year, and in the history of the NCAA tournament, 1 seeds were 135-0 up until this point. Virginia never found their footing, as they struggled all game to hit shots and defend the golden retrievers of UMBC. The Retrievers made history by running away to a 74-54 victory over 1 seed Virginia and became the first ever 16 seed to advance to the second round. This is now considered the biggest upset in the history of the NCAA tournament.

The madness wasn’t over though. The 4th seeded Shockers of Wichita State hit the floor for a matchup with the 13th seeded thundering herd of Marshall. This was another nailbiter. Marshall guard Jon Elmore led the charge for the thundering herd and hit some key shots down the stretch to give them a chance to win. Marshall created just enough separation to secure an 81-75 victory, and knock off another 4 seed.

Looking at all brackets filled out on ESPN, we can see what percent of all the brackets picked a certain team and how far they picked them to go. Virginia was picked by nearly 90% of all brackets to reach the second round, Arizona by nearly 60%, Wichita state by 44%, and Miami by 23.4%. Virginia was also picked by 60% of brackets to reach the sweet sixteen, by 48.2% of brackets to reach the elite eight, by 32.9% of brackets, and by 18.5% of brackets picked them to win it all. That is a lot of brackets busted in just the first round. Arizona was picked by 5% of all brackets to win it all, and by 23% to reach at least the sweet sixteen. Many people believed that never in our lifetime would we see a 16 seed beat a number 1 seed, but here’s to the underdog.