One word to describe this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball College Basketball Championship: Wow. Even Duke Blue Devil Head Basketball coach Mike Kryzyzewski, who’s been around the game of college basketball since 1966, is taken aback by this year’s tournament.
“The tournament,” Mike Krzyzewski said aloud, “is crazy.”
There have been ten wins by double digit seeds in this year’s tournament, which is an all-time high for the NCAA. There was a win by a team seeded 10-15, with the 15 seed being Middle Tennessee State taking down two-seed, and championship hopeful, Michigan State.
The 14 seed that won was Stephen F. Austin, who beat three seeded West Virginia, No. 13 Hawaii upset number four Cal, and the 12 seeds Yale and Arkansas Little-Rock took down Baylor and Purdue respectively.
Based on the definition of an upset (a lower seed beating a higher seed) there were 13 total upsets in the first two rounds of the tournament out of a possible 32 games played. That’s almost HALF of the games played. Ridiculous.
Even though they may have won their second round games, most of the Cinderella stories ended there. Here is a wrap-up of how the underdogs did:
Stephen F Austin lost to Notre Dame on a shot with 1.5 seconds left on the clock in the third round.
Hawaii lost to Maryland by 13, and even worse news for the kids from Hawaii is that they are suspended from postseason play next year because of infractions that were committed by one of their previous coaches.
11 seed Northern Iowa dropped their third round game to Texas A&M by four, 92-88.
Arkansas Little-Rock was blown out in their third round game, losing to number four Iowa State by 17.
Wichita State lost their round of 32 game against the three seeded Miami Hurricanes in a close one, 65- 57.
Yale lost their game to no. 4 and ACC powerhouse Duke by seven.
The only two underdogs to move on to the Sweet 16 will actually play each other in this round. 11 Seeded Gonzaga won their third round game against three seeded Utah, and Syracuse paved their way by beating the seven seeded Dayton Flyers 70-51, then by taking down the Cinderella’s of Middle Tennessee 75-50.
So, even with all of the upsets in the first couple days of the tournament, most of the higher seeded teams still ended up in the Sweet 16.
One more interesting note: six of the 16 teams remaining in the tournament are from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Might as well just rename this the ACC conference tournament, with a few others invited.