The first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament was this past weekend, and it is widely considered the craziest four days of sports of the entire year. Every year top seeds go down early to Cinderella teams. Whether it was Florida Gulf Coast beating number two seed Georgetown a couple years back or Wichita State upsetting number two Gonzaga, the first weekend is always madness.
However, this year was different. Every top four seed advanced to the round of 32, and the biggest “upset” was Middle Tennessee, a 12 seed, beating Minnesota, a five seed. This game wasn’t even an upset according to Vegas, as Middle Tennessee was the favorite despite the seed disparity. So what did almost every higher seed team winning mean for the tournament? Well, it meant that we were in store for great games moving forward in the tournament. And boy did Saturday and Sunday deliver. Saturday started off with a bang as Wisconsin was able to upend returning champs Villanova, and Gonzaga was able to keep the dream alive, defeating Northwestern.
Xavier, who is the only double digit seed remaining after the first weekend, beat three seed Florida State from the Atlantic Coast Conference. This was just the beginning of a string of losses for the ACC. Notre Dame fell hard to West Virginia. Duke was shocked by South Carolina. Virginia got trounced by Florida. The only team left from the ACC after two games is North Carolina, who could have very easily lost to Arkansas, but they came back from a big deficit late to survive.
UCLA, Kansas, and Butler all won handily to punch their ticket to next week. Arizona overcame a tough St.Mary’s squad. Purdue, Kentucky, Oregon and Baylor all had to battle their way to a win. The final team to advance to the Sweet Sixteen was Michigan. They shot the lights out to upset the number two seed Louisville.
While there wasn’t quite the amount of wild upsets in the first round, this will be a good thing for the remainder of the tournament. Only one double digit seed advanced, and only big name schools made the sweet sixteen. This sets up the remainder of the tournament to be a fun one.
* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license