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Filling the Void: UMBC Does the Unthinkable

One of college sports’ most memorable upsets.

Bird’s Eye View by Jeff Turner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Filling the Void: UMBC Does the Unthinkable

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Having a hard time with this whole “social distancing” thing? Yeah – us too. Especially when it comes to the lack of sports. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease the pain and suffering. While we may not have any of the current sports leagues to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconic, noteworthy and remarkable sporting events we could find. We also found some mundane, run of the mill matches and contests, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles sports, right? Each day, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Today: The Storied #16 vs. #1 Upset…

We had spent the majority of our lives wondering if we would ever see it. In 2018, we finally did. In the opening round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship tournament, the UMBC Retrievers (that’s the University of Maryland, Baltimore County) defeated a true juggernaut in the Virginia Cavaliers. It was the first time the men’s game had seen a 16 seed defeat a 1 seed (the women’s game had seen one such upset two decades prior).

This game is mind-blowing for a slew of reasons. Virginia was not only a 1 seed, they were also the top overall seed in the entire tournament. UMBC was a 20.5 point underdog, their win being the second-biggest upset in terms of point-spread in NCAA history. And they won the game by a staggering 20 points, 74-54. After being tied at 21 at half, UMBC jumped out ahead in the second frame and managed to keep a roughly double-digit lead the rest of the way.

UMBC was led in this game by 28 points from guard Jarius Lyles. He nearly single-handedly outscored Virginia guards Ty Jerome, Devon Hall, and Kyle Guy (who combined for just 32 points). The latter 3 would all go on to be drafted by NBA teams. Lyles, after a brief stint in the NBA G-League, now plays in the Basketball Bundesliga in Germany.

So for those of you who need to scratch that March Madness itch as we go without college basketball, check out the video below and relive what might be the upset of our generation.

See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.

Ryan Kelly lives in Cambridge, MA, a stone's throw away from his beloved Boston teams. When he is not working as an editorial assistant, he is providing commentary on the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins for The Turf.

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