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March madness updates and highlights

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Heading into the second day of the sweet sixteen, there certainly has been a lot of “madness” so far in this year’s tournament.  Although you good go on forever about all the comebacks, upsets, etc., here is a brief summary of all the memorable moments thus far.

First Round Highlights:

-On the night of Friday the 16th, we might have seen the greatest upset in the history of college basketball.  For the first time ever in the NCAA tournament, a #16 seed defeated a #1 seed (16 seeds were previously 0-135 in the tournament).  It came when the 16-seeded UMBC Retrievers blew out Virginia 74-54, in a game where UMBC shot 50% against the top-ranked defense in the country (how’s that for busting brackets?).  

-On day one of the round of 64, 11-seeded Loyola Chicago defeated Miami on a buzzer-beater.  After the Hurricanes missed the front end of a one-and-one, the LCU Ramblers took the ball down the court where Donte Ingram buried a deep 3-pointer that lifted his team to a 64-62 victory.  

-Among first round upsets, two #13 seeds defeated #4 seeds.  On the night of Thursday the 15th, the Buffalo Bulls stunned Arizona in an 89-68 beatdown where Wes Clark scored 25 points.  The following day, Marshall shocked the Shockers of Wichita State, holding on for a victory that less than 10% of brackets predicted.

-In a heavily anticipated matchup, the Nevada Wolfpack rallied against Texas in the closing minutes, and ended up beating the Longhorns in an overtime thriller.  Caleb Martin hit two late 3-pointers that helped send the wolfpack into the second round.

-Houston guard Rob Gray was nothing short of sensational in a nail-biting matchup where the Cougars topped San Diego State 67-65.  Gray hit the game-winning layup with 1.1 seconds remaining, and finished with a total of 39 points and 8 rebounds. San Diego State had a last-second 3-point attempt bounce off the rim, sealing their fate.  

 

Second Round Highlights:

Where do we begin…

-#1-seeded Xavier was taken out by Florida State, who used a late-game rally to topple the Musketeers.  The FSU seminoles had a remarkable 46 points from their bench, leading them to a 75-70 victory that sent another 1 seed home.

-Michigan’s one point victory over the Houston Cougars On Saturday night can only be described as miraculous.  After Houston missed two critical free throws, Michigan was left to inbound the ball from their own baseline with 3.9 seconds remaining, trailing by two.  The Wolverines pushed the ball up the court just enough to allow Freshman Jordan Poole a 30-foot 3-pointer as time expired…which he nailed. This lifted Michigan to a 64-63 victory in a game that will likely go down as a March Madness classic.

-Every year in the tournament, we are impressed with exciting comebacks.  But Nevada’s second half rally against Cincinnati will go down as one of the greatest.  Trailing by 22 with just 11 minutes to play, the Wolfpack came storming back with a 19-2 run and ended up defeating the 2-seeded bearcats 75-73.

-It’s never easy to knock out the defending champs, but Texas A&M did just that- and had little trouble completing the task.  The aggiest shot an incredible 51% from the field in a game where they routed 2-seeded North Carolina 86-65.

-11-seeded Syracuse defeated Michigan State, a team that many people had beating Duke in the elite eight.  Instead, it will be the Orange taking on the Blue Devils, after a 55-53 victory over the MSU Spartans.

 

Sweet sixteen highlights(so far)

Lower seeds went 3 for 4 on an exciting day one of the sweet sixteen.  

-Loyola Chicago pulled off another nail-biting victory(they’ve now won 3 games by a combined total of four points) over Nevada, sending them to the elite eight.

-In a battle of the Wildcats, Kansas State defeated a young Kentucky team in a hard-fought defensive battle.  Final score 61-58, in a game where both teams shot under 40% from the field.

-The Florida State Seminoles continued their underdog run by defeating 4-seeded Gonzaga 75-60, pushing them through to the elite eight for the first time since 1993.  FSU has defeated 3 higher seeds in 3 games this tournament, and will be looking for another upset when they take on 3-seeded Michigan in the next round.

 

Remaining Sweet sixteen games:

5-Clemson vs 1-Kansas

5-West Virginia vs 1-Villanova

11-Syracuse vs 2-Duke

3-Texas Tech vs 2-Purdue

 

From the games that have been played thus far, we’ve learned that anything can happen in this tournament.  So be sure to buckle up, as we head into the home stretch of March Madness 2018.

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