March Madness: First Weekend Reprise
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It’s been a wild year in college hoops, with no team really taking control of their fate.
So the upper-seed carnage in the Big Dance's first weekend shouldn't have been a surprise.
Looking back to the regular season, at one point this year, the Top 10 teams had lost 73 games, although this obviously changes as teams drop out of and come in to the Top 10.
This number tops the previous number for most ever in a college basketball season (71 in 2000-2001).
This campaign sat in stark contrast to last year's, in which sub-NBA juggernaut Kentucky charged to an undefeated regular season, eventually losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four and letting America collectively breathe a sigh of relief.
This year’s No 1 seeds collectively lost 25 games, whereas last year’s No 1's had only dropped 9.
With such a wild year, we were bound to have a wild tournament. Right?
Tom Izzo, for one, must've thought he was in an alternate universe.
Well despite Middle Tennessee State beating Michigan State and pulling off the always fun 15 v 2 upset, the average seed in this year’s Sweet 16 is 4.125.
In case you’re wondering, the mean since 1985 is 4.45, meaning that this year’s tournament really hasn’t been all that crazy. We still have all four No 1 seeds, and 10 of the 16 teams left are No 4 seeds or better.
That’s OK, underdog fans. We’re still set with some fun match-ups this weekend, which includes the fact that a double-digit will definitely be in the Elite 8.
Two things really stand out from the first weekend.
First, let’s talk Michigan State. Some people were calling this the biggest upset of all time. With a Player of the Year in Denzel Valentine, Izzo’s amazing tournament success, and Middle Tennessee not having beaten a Top 100 KenPom team all year long, it’s hard to argue against that.
The second standout has to be Northern Iowa being involved in two of the craziest games from the entire tournament.
There's the ridiculous halfcourt shot to beat Texas that made brains explode, which would have been unfortunate because that would have prevented those fans from watching the rest of the tournament.
Northern Iowa’s second game was just an oddity.
How does one blow a 12-point tournament lead with 42 seconds left? Well, now we know.
It’s hard where to point the blame here, there’s just so much to give out. In the end, it has to lie with the coach. It’s his job to prepare the team for a number of presses, and every coach should have a few good versions of a press break.
It’s also on him to calm down the team, re-set them mentally, and maybe draw up a new press break that Texas A&M wouldn't have scouted. However, it made for an incredible watch. And honestly, for UNI to manage to take the game to a second overtime is nearly as incredible as their meltdown.
How do you come back from blowing that kind of a lead? Well, ultimately they didn’t.
And they’ll be watching the rest of the tournament from their tear-soaked couches.