It’s Madness! Rounds of 64 and 32
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 12:03
The beauty of the NCAA Tournament is that it gives the “little guys” a chance to topple the bluebloods of college basketball. The idea of David besting Goliath has never been truer than in this tournament.
While the tournament has been lacking in buzzer beaters and nail biters (compared to recent years), it has produced a few upsets that not only busted brackets nationwide,
but reminded everyone of the parity in basketball.
In the past 11 years, only one 15 seed had defeated a two seed in the first round of the “Big Dance.”
On Friday, in a span of four hours, two 15 seeds beat two two seeds. Norfolk State University put themselves on the nation’s radar
with their 86-84 upset of the Missouri Tigers, whom many experts
believed to be a favorite for the national championship.
In the next round of games on Friday night, Lehigh University continued the 15-seeds’ success
when they beat Duke University 75-70.
These two victories
marked only the fifth and sixth time in the tournament’s
history that a 15 seed beat a two seed.
On Thursday, the unthinkable almost happened in the game between
Syracuse University and the University of North Carolina-Asheville. UNC-Asheville, a 16 seed, hung with the Orange for the entire game in their quest to become
the first 16 seed to ever beat a one seed.
Syracuse survived to win by seven points, but it did not come without controversy.
The Orange were on the receiving end of two “questionable”
calls that could have altered the outcome of the game.
Elsewhere in the bracket, 13-seeded Ohio University upset the four-seeded University of Michigan.
The Bobcats moved on to the Round of 32 for the second
time in three years. (The Ohio staff includes Xavier’s own Dante Jackson, who graduated
last year after a four-year career with the Musketeers.)
Speaking of Xavier, the Musketeers engineered their own upset over the University of Notre Dame on Friday night thanks to some late-game heroics from senior
Aside from Holloway’s bank shot, the lone “buzzer beater” for the opening round games came on Saturday afternoon when Indiana University beat Virginia Commonwealth University.
Despite turning the ball over 22 times, the Hoosiers staged a last-minute comeback and sealed the victory with a baseline jumper with 12 seconds remaining in the game.
Save for this shot, there have been few last-second shots that have been highlight-reel worthy.
In this tournament, it seems as if something happens for the first time every year, and this year was no exception.
While Indiana is lauded as the “Basketball Crazy State,” their neighbors to the east have proven their dominance in basketball this past weekend.
Teams from the state of Ohio went a combined 8-0 during the first weekend of games. The University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, Ohio University and Xavier are all moving onto the Sweet 16.
This marks the first time in tournament history that one state has sent four or more teams to the Sweet 16.
The opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament was a great way to prep college basketball fans for the remaining 15 games in the “Big Dance.”
The madness has only just begun,
which is the beauty of the tournament and why it is one of the biggest spectacles in sport.
To paraphrase a famous Terrell Owens quote, “Get your popcorn ready because there’s about to be a show!”