We’re back after some time off for the NCAA tournament. Alabama and Auburn both advanced to the Round of 32 before they got dismantled by their second round opponent. So many teams fell in the first two rounds that we all had advancing to the final four and even winning the championship. Two 1-seeds are gone, two 2-seeds are gone, two 3-seeds are gone and three four seeds are gone. That’s 9 top-seeded upsets as we get to the Sweet 16.
So of all of those upsets and memorable games from the first two rounds – which games were the most interesting to discuss on social media and around the water-cooler after it was all said and done?
1. #16 UMBC over #1 Virginia (First Round)
I feel like this is the most obvious #1 choice to ever make Lunce’s List…hopefully it doesn’t get upset too.
This wasn’t just the first time a 16 has ever beaten a 1, but it was an absolute beat down by UMBC, winning 74-54. Plus, can we talk about the Fortnite love from UMBC?
2. #7 Nevada over #2 Cincinnati (Second Round)
This game was a prime example of “never give up” as Nevada was down 22 points with just over 11 minutes left on the clock and yet they came back to win. Nevada is a team that I had losing in the first round, but it was a bit of a toss-up. They looked decent against Texas and then ran back against Cincinnati. Lucky for them, they get an 11-seed in Loyola-Chicago.
3. #11 Loyola-Chicago over #3 Tennessee (Second Round)
Really you could go with either of the first two games for Loyola as they defeated 6-seed Miami and 3-seed Tennessee. I’m going with the higher seeded game and because it’s an SEC game. Sister Jean is the biggest personality in the entire tournament. The best thing about it is – she has them losing in the Sweet 16 in her bracket. So we’ll see what they can do this weekend against Nevada.
4. #7 Texas A&M over #2 North Carolina (Second Round)
How about the Aggies? I did have UNC going out in round two, but I thought it would be Providence. Providence was hot coming into the tournament, running through the Big East tournament until they fell in overtime to Villanova.
UMC was up and down at times this year, and I could never really buy into them as a serious contender. Texas A&M should have played a lot better than they did this season. With two of the most dominant big men in the league, they lost way too many games, including two to Alabama. Their win on the road over Auburn showed that they could hang with a good team, but they really showed that with two great wins, arguably the best two in the tournament since Providence was still a legit team despite being a 10-seed.
5. #3 Michigan over #6 Houston (Second Round)
Michigan hit a shot at the end to win over Houston and now get #7 Texas A&M instead of UNC. Michigan is the highest seeded team left on their half of the bracket and can’t face a seed higher than them until the championship.
Houston gave it a valiant effort but had to play San Diego State tough in their first game and Michigan as well. San Diego State is not a good 11-seed draw.
#5 Clemson over #4 Auburn (Second Round) – Auburn looked miserable. Clemson won by 31 points, but it got over 40 points at times. Clemson closed the first half on a 25-4 run, and in the final 10 minutes of that half, Auburn went 6-33 from the floor, going on a streak of missing 18 field goals.
#9 Alabama over #8 Virginia Tech (First Round) – Both teams shot amazing, and Alabama looked like a team that was poised to perhaps go on a tournament run. John Petty was on fire and was doing it all on the court, but that would be their only good performance.
#9 Kansas State over #16 UMBC (Second Round) – You’re never going to actually expect a 16-seed to win, so the fact that this game was close was great. UMBC was a scrappy team that played hard and gave Kansas State all they wanted. Of course, it doesn’t remotely compare to their win over Virginia.
#13 Buffalo over #4 Arizona (First Round) – Arizona was a Final Four team in a lot of brackets, but they looked awful, losing by 21 points in their first round game. Buffalo looked good there, but Kentucky pulled away and beat them by 20 in their second round game. Arizona is a team that is in the cross hairs of the FBI, and this first round exit won’t make the fans think any more highly of the team moving forward.
#11 Loyola-Chicago over #6 Miami (First Round) – I think getting that first upset is something special, but beating the top rated SEC team counted for more in my book. They are actually getting their lowest seeded opponent in the Sweet 16, how crazy is that?
#13 Marshall over #4 Wichita State (First Round) – Do Alabama fans still want Gregg Marshall? Marshall made a run through the C-USA tournament to even earn their right to be in the big dance, and then they came out and beat one of the top teams in basketball as a 13-seed.
#7 Rhode Island over #10 Oklahoma (First Round) – Oklahoma was the team you heard the most buzz about when it came to whether or not they even belonged in the tournament. Trae Young did his thing, but it wasn’t enough as Oklahoma fell in overtime. Then Rhode Island got thumped by Duke.
#11 Syracuse over #3 Michigan State (Second Round) – There goes my champion. Michigan State was a team I had high hopes for, especially since a local player plays for the Spartans. However, Syracuse is still Syracuse, and a bad draw as an 11-seed.