Several Top Seeds Tumble In The Wildest Opening Weekend In History
So you had Virginia or Michigan State winning it all (guilt on the last one).
Your Final Four consisted of Cincinnati or North Carolina or Xavier, perhaps even Auburn of Tennessee as a darkhorse.
As favorite after favorite after favorite fell on opening weekend of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, it proved on thing: this spectacular American sporting event really is March Madness.
Never before in the history of brackets have so many Final Four and championship picks have the dreaded elimination line run through the team’s name.
Never before has a #16 seed beat a #1 seed.
Never before have so many brackets been busted before the sun even set on Sunday.
UMBC? That one had people scrambling to Google to search out what those letters even stood for, let alone where its located and what’s it’s mascot (the Retrievers and not, as a few proud alumni pointed out on Twitter, a Maryland retriever and not the GoldenRetrievers).
That team’s dream ended in a how-the-heck-did-they-beat-Virginia 50-41 can’t-shoot loss to Kansas State, but the Retrievers were certainly golden on one night and provided the tournament’s defining moment. It truly a March Madness miracle on hardwood.
And what about Nevada? The upstart Wolfpack, coached by an acquaintance of mine, Eric Mussleman, a former resident of Manhattan Beach, CA., won not just one game but two and are in the Sweet 16.
Michigan State? Sparty was a popular pick but was colder than a December day in East Lansing.
Done. Bracket busted.
The lone bracket preservers were Duke and Villanova. Otherwise, your best bet is to root for the underdogs and hope everyone else’s bracket in your pool comes back to you.
In most cases, the top seeds flat-out choked. They missed open jump shots, free throws and down the stretch, committed unfocused turnovers. The pressure of the tournament got to them.
March Madness indeed, and it was even more so this year.