This year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament is living up to the hype. Multiple upsets, bracket-busting games, and great performances have permeated the tournament known as March Madness. It surely has seen its share of madness over the many years of existence, and this year is no different.
The first two games that captured the audience’s attention this year were the games between sixth-seeded Memphis and eleventh-seeded Saint Mary’s, and third-seeded Marquette and fourteenth-seeded Davidson. Both games came down to the wire with Saint Mary’s just falling short of an upset in a 54-52 loss and Marquette barely escaping with a victory 59-58, thanks to Vander Blue’s game-winning layup with one second left.
The first day of play continued with impressive upsets by twelfth-seeded Oregon over fifth-seeded Oklahoma State, twelfth-seeded California over fifth-seeded University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), and fourteenth seeded Harvard over third seeded New Mexico. The first day ended with a few upsets, only a precursor to the madness that followed Friday.
Upsets were by twelfth-seeded Ole Miss, thirteenth-seeded La Salle, fifteenth-seeded Florida Gulf Coast (FGCU), tenth-seeded Iowa State, and eleventh-seeded Minnesota. Overall, there were eight upsets by double digit seeds. By the end of the first round, two ninth seeds, one tenth seed, one eleventh seed, three twelfth seeds, one thirteenth seed, one fourteenth seed, and one fifteenth seed advanced to the round of 32.
In the round of 32, Oregon (12) upset Saint Louis (4), Wichita State (9) upset Gonzaga (1), FGCU (15) upset San Diego State (7), and La Salle (13) beat Ole Miss (12). Heading into the Sweet 16, there will be a ninth seed, a twelfth seed, a thirteenth seed, and a fifteenth seed. A quarter of the teams in the Sweet 16 are ninth seeds or higher.
When asked about their reactions to the tournament so far, Zane Gard said that it was “March Madness at its finest.” Tre Fowler called it “unpredictable,” and Jordan Butler added that it is total “insanity.” Only one thing is for certain: that if the first two rounds are any indication of what is to come, then the Sweet 16 will certainly be surprising and total madness. Tune in next weekend to see the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.