I guess this is probably the time of year where more than enough people fill out their brackets guessing how they think the NCAA Tournament will play out. And each year, it gets even more unpredictable with the growing parity in college basketball. Well, college sports in general have seen more parity, but that’s another story for another time.
For as long as I can remember, there have been our share of 12-seeds beating 5-seeds and then we’d start seeing more 13-seeded teams have taken out the 4-seed. Even more recent, some 3-seed and 2-seed teams could get taken out in the opening round. But, what we have seen last night was something we’ve never seen before. If you were awake, for the first time a 16-seed knocked out a 1-seed in the opening round. Yes, that’s correct….the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (who??) took out top-seeded Virginia.
Yes, the UMBC Retrievers wiped out mighty Virginia who wasn’t just a top seed, but the top OVERALL seed. While it may not have been a surprise that eventually a top seed was going to get knocked out in an opening round game, what was a surprise was how much of a butt whooping fans witnessed in Charlotte Friday night. Virginia not only lost 74-54, but the Cavaliers looked like the team that was the 16-seed throughout most of the game. For a team that was so strong defensively, they had no answer for how UMBC
This Virginia team was a team that had gone a stellar 31-2 in the regular season and an unprecedented 17-1 in a strong ACC this year. The Retrievers? They had lost a game earlier in the season to the University of Albany 83-39. After that embarrassing loss, UMBC had only lost one game since and that includes winning at Vermont on a last second three pointer to even make the NCAA Tournament. This team had lost to Vermont twice earlier by 15 and 28 points, respectively.
Not only did UMBC make history last night, they also ensured that the conference tournament will never go away, and why the NCAA Tournament is one of the greatest events in sports.
Don’t be surprised if this happens again, sooner than later.
- Other thoughts of the first two days of the tournament:
The SEC looked strong – sans Missouri. I remember not even a few years ago it was Kentucky and everyone else was garbage.
The Big Ten looked strong as well. Purdue could be in trouble losing their 7-2 center Isaac Haas, but his backup is 7-3. It’s still weird not seeing Wisconsin in the tournament. I also understand the Big Ten was down this year, but how does a 13-win team like Nebraska not make the tournament and teams who had losing records in their conference get in? That should be a criteria where you need to be .500 or better to make the tournament.
Paging the Pac-12? Hello?? Didn’t you used to be one of the top basketball conferences? Only 3 bids to the tournament…UCLA and Arizona State lose in the ‘First Four’ games, and the expected tournament dark horse, Arizona got clobbered by Buffalo Thursday night. Speaking of Arizona – the drama is not nearly done there. Does coach Sean Miller survive? Did anyone give him a 100 Grand candy bar as a joke of the “$100,000 payment to a recruit” that was caught on tape – allegedly? Probably not, but it would have been hysterical!
The Big 12 – well, can someone explain to me how Oklahoma got into the tournament over Oklahoma State. Never mind my argument for .500 teams getting in at this point – based on the current criteria, State had a stronger case than OU. However, the media went so gaga over Sooner guard Trae Young it felt like they wanted to give him a showcase and see if he could carry Oklahoma on a run. Whoops!
The ACC – they already took a huge hit with Virginia. Everyone else in the league looked good aside of NC State
Nice dig by Illinois State coach Dan Muller calling out Wichita State for losing their opening round game to Marshall.
You can’t really blame the Shockers for taking a bigger swing at a move up and more money. Is this sour grapes? Perhaps, but this is also saying how much he dislikes Wichita State and misses playing and/or beating them. Well, try and get them on the schedule!
It was cool to see Loyola (IL) win in a near buzzer-beater over Miami (FL) on Thursday. Loyola would be a good team to see the Green Bay Phoenix get on their schedule in the future.
- Dumb ass of the week.
Watch this Video
First – this dumb ass doing the pushing should be kicked off the team. Second, he should have charges pressed against him. There is no place whatsoever for crap like this. If you have kids in sports, please show this to them as a good lesson of what not to do!
The second? The WIAA for allowing a convicted felon to play sports. Read this story regarding Milwaukee Washington player Deontay Long. How do they not have a conduct policy in place? And how does the school allow this? Is winning a state championship that important??
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict – nah, that’s too easy. You had to wonder if this moron was always on performance enhancing drugs. How much longer will the Bengals deal with this clown?
- I’ll be back next week to make my 2018 baseball standings picks, winners/losers in the early part of NFL free agency and who I think wins the NCAA Tournament. And yes, I will be the dumb ass for the week – you’ll see why when I send out the blog next Sunday.
Happy Irish Day or in partying mode – Amateur Day!!! Have some Guinness and Jameson!