You all had Villanova, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Syracuse in your Final Four right? No, you didn’t. And in case you haven’t been following along there have been some major upsets in this year’s tournament on the road to the Final Four.
The largest upset this year was No. 15 State Middle-Tennessee State topping perennial favorite and No. 2 seed Michigan State. Like the rest of America, most of us saw our brackets go up in flames when MSU lost. In one of the bracket pools I’m in, 40 percent of participants had picked the Spartans to win the championship. Oops.
But your personal bracket pools aside, hasn’t this been exciting?
When the tournament started, many pundits and talking heads questioned whether or not the No. 10 seeded Syracuse Orange even belonged in the tournament. Now they are in the Final Four after knocking off No. 7 Dayton, No. 15 Middle Tennessee State and No. 11 Gonzaga. Syracuse’s improbable run culminated in the Elite Eight, where they faced the No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers; a game that saw the Orange go on a 21-2 run in the last 8:34 en route to a 68-62 win.
This year’s tournament has been the definition of March Madness. We’ve seen upsets. Sure, No. 12 seeded Arkansas—Little Rock bested the No. 5 seed Purdue. And No. 12 Yale handled No. 5 Baylor. But EVERYONE picks at least one 12-5 upset, so that wasn’t too surprising. But this tournament has had it’s share of memorable moments.
Perhaps the best shot of the tournament came in the first round, when Northern Iowa (No. 11) had just allowed Texas (No. 6) to tie the game with seconds left on the clock. Any other time of year, this game probably goes into over time. Not in March. Instead, Northern Iowa inbounds the ball and heaves a half court shot. Swish. Northern Iowa wins and Texas is stunned.
Or there was the Wisconsin (No. 7)/ Xavier (No. 2) game. Wisconsin tied the game with a deep three ball with 11 seconds left, and then won on a fade away three point shot at the buzzer to send Xavier packing.
No. 6 seed Notre Dame barely edged out No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin, after SFA provided the second big shock of the tournament when they knocked off third seeded West Virginia.
Northern Iowa almost followed their upset against Texas with another upset over No. 3 seed Texas A&M, and tenth seeded VCU almost knocked off No. 2 seed Oklahoma.
This year’s March Madness Tournament has been one of the best in recent memory, and the Final Four should continue that trend. No matter who ends up winning the championship this year, we will be talking about this tournament for years to come. This is March. This is Madness!
Editor’s Note: Please win Villanova… I want to win my bracket.
AJ may be reached at [email protected]