By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~
With one weekend down, this year’s tournament is meeting all expectations of March Madness. From buzzer-beaters to bracket-shattering upsets, fans have been on the edge of their seats whether in the arena or on the couch at home.
For the first time since 2012, all No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16.
In the first round, a slew of buzzer-beaters broke hearts all over the country. Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen put in a half-court shot at the horn to prevail over Texas.
UC barely lost to St. Joseph’s after Octavius Ellis elected to attempt a dunk in the closing moments, as opposed to the more time efficient layup alternative. It’s okay Bearcats, you weren’t going to win the next game anyways.
Lastly, Iowa prevented a Big 5 rematch in the round of 32 by tipping in a missed shot at the buzzer to take down Temple, only to be shellacked by Villanova two days later.
Furthermore, March Madness 2016 has given us a full serving of upsets galore. A record of eight teams seeded 11 or lower advanced to the round of 32 with 11-seeded Gonzaga making it to the Sweet Sixteen.
No. 15 Middle Tennessee knocked off two-seeded Michigan State in one of the most unexpected outcomes a first round has ever seen. Many ‘experts’ who questioned why the Spartans did not earn a one-seed over Oregon were put to silence, as were many brackets that had MSU advancing to the Final Four or even winning the tournament.
An underrated Stephen F. Austin team took down No. 3 West Virginia while Hawai’i won its first tournament game since 2002 by defeating No. 4 California.
Finally, while a five-seed versus a four-seed does not warrant much of a headline, Indiana defeating Kentucky felt like as much of an upset as one could imagine. Kentucky arguably deserved a higher seed, and a team recruited and coached by John Calipari is always among the favorites to go to the Final Four. Fortunately for college basketball fans everywhere, the Wildcats did not make a deep run proving that reloading with a crop of five-start recruits is not the only way to be successful.
Looking ahead, Kansas and Virginia look to be the favorites for a National Championship matchup. Neither team has shown any sign of weakness thus far. However, the likes of North Carolina and Villanova (the Big East’s sole representative in the Sweet 16) will look to prove those projections false in pursuit of affirming their own dominance.