The opening weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is complete and the Sweet 16 is set. There were the annual upsets, comeback wins and clutch shots, as there is every year.
Let’s take a look and recap all that happened in the two opening rounds.
JERSEY, STAND UP!
The number 15 seed out of the East Region, the Saint Peter’s University Peacocks from Jersey City, New Jersey, are moving onto the Sweet 16.
In the First Round on Thursday, March 17, the small school located just minutes away from Journal Square, took down the University of Kentucky, a number two seed in the tournament. Defeating Kentucky, who could possibly have known all five of their starters playing in the NBA next season, was just the beginning of their impressive run?
Saint Peter’s then went on to take on the seventh seed Murray State University in the second round and took the ten-point victory.
The Peacocks have captivated the hearts of basketball fans, especially New Jersey residents across the state. A true Cinderella story, for the Metro Athletic Athletic Conference (MAAC ) has taken down two prominent basketball programs in a bid for the school’s first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.
Saint Peter’s will now take on the third seed, Purdue University, on Friday, March 25, and will be looking to continue embarking on this improbable journey.
Brackets Busted Early
Who doesn’t love the enjoyment of filling out a March Madness bracket? Who also hates when it comes to a crashing end in only the first weekend?
According to NCAA.com, many completed brackets for tournament favorites have been bounced.
Kentucky, who was picked in over six percent of brackets to win the tournament lost.
The first number one seed to go down, Baylor University out of the East Region, was picked in 4.31% of brackets to repeat as champions. They lost to the eighth seed, University of North Carolina, in the second round.
Auburn University, a number two seed from the Midwest Region, lost to the tenth seed, the University of Miami. Auburn was picked to win in 3.85% of brackets.
The University of Tennessee, University of Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin were all top five seeds who were chosen as the predicated champions in one percent of brackets. All fell this weekend.
Double-Digit Seeds Advance
A fourth of the Sweet 16 is made of teams that entered the tournament as seed ten or higher.
Saint Peter’s, Miami, University of Michigan and Iowa State University all will continue in a quest for a title in week two.
One is guaranteed to make it to the Elite 8 as Miami and Iowa State face off in the Midwest Region on Friday, March 24.
Looking back at history, not a single double-digit team has won the championship. The eighth-seeded Villanova University was the lowest seed to ever win the tournament in 1985.
History says chances are low, but history also would have told you that Saint Peter’s would have been destroyed by Kentucky.
It’s March, anything is possible.
By the Skin of Their Teeth
Even though they are still alive, many of the regular season powerhouses were almost bounced in the first round.
It took the first seed in the South Region, the University of Arizona, an overtime win to narrowly edge past the ninth seed Texas Christian University in the last game of the Round of 32.
Another ninth seed, the University of Memphis, gave the overall number-one team, Gonzaga University, all they had in their four-point loss in the second round.
Michigan State University, a seven seed, almost completed a huge upset over the no. 2 seed Duke University West Region, but potential no. one overall NBA draft pick, Paolo Banchero, showed why he is deserving of the NBA’s top selection.
A Look Ahead
Thursday, March 24, is when the Sweet 16 begins and by Saturday, we will have the Elite 8. Expect only more madness in the next four days.
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