When the 2018 NCAA Tournament began this week, there had never been a game where a #16 seed school has defeated a #1 seed. It has never happened before. It’s also kind of unheard of. The first round for most #1 seeds is like the first game a rag-tag kid’s sports team plays in a kid’s movie. The bad team gets absolutely pummelled and they learn that losing sucks and they need to be a team. The coach then looks at the scoreboard and two five-year-olds are adding an extra space for all the points the dominating team scored and he like… sighs.
You know what I mean? The first time the Mighty Ducks play the Hawks and they get smoked? That’s what I’m talking about. Except in this case, the Mighty Ducks never play again because it’s a single-elimination tournament.
Top seeds are meant to make it to at least the elite 8, anything else is a failure. Simple as that. You won your conference. Now go win the National Championship.
The University of Virginia did all of those things. They won the ACC championship defeating North Carolina, the current #2 seed in the West. UVA were favorites to take it all. IN FACT, in our Turf Bracket Challenge, 2 of the 9 participating writers had UVA as their pick for National Champs.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past day, let me fill you in. The University of Virginia Cavaliers, the ACC Champions and #1 Seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, were eliminated by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the first time ever that a #16 have beaten a #1.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, BALTIMORE COUNTY RETRIEVERS, AS IN GOLDEN RETRIEVERS, NOW HAVE A SERIOUS SHOT TO WIN THE WHOLE THING AND BECOME NATIONAL CHAMPS*.
*-This is a lie.
In all seriousness, UMBC played out of their f**king minds. Seriously. UMBC shot 50% from behind the 3-point line and Jairus Lyles put up 28 points. This Retriever team didn’t beat UVA on a buzzer beater or some form of last-minute heroics. No, they blew them out.
That’s the truly amazing thing about this game. UVA has been known for dictating game tempo and that’s always been a calling card of dominating College teams. Call the shots within the game, you’ll call the shots throughout the game.
Virginia never established they tempo, instead played on UMBC’s time.
Offensively they looked abysmal. They look terrible, contested shots, and refused to force their own looks. The Cavaliers played from behind, something they haven’t done all year. They were playing someone else’s brand of ball, not their own.
Now… they’ll play basketball next year.
As for the UMBC Retrievers, they live to see another day. The Retrievers will face off against Kansas State, who seem to have the upper hand, on paper that is.
But this scrappy group of guys from UMBC may just be up to the task, and they’ll have more than their usual fanbase cheering them on. I mean, with alumni like Sylvester Stallone, being an underdog runs in your blood.
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