The first round of this year’s NCAA tournament was absolute chaos. There were 13 upsets, including 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee State’s absolute shellacking of the number two seed (and odds-on favorite to win the whole shebang) Michigan State. That matches a record set way back in 2001, when Shane Battier led Duke to the championship.
If the first round was revolution, the second round was the counterrevolution. The remaining high seeds hit back with a vengeance. Middle Tennessee St. (#15), Witchita State (#11), Stephen F. Austin (#14), University of Northern Iowa (#11), Little Rock (#12), and Yale (#12) all lost. Duke, Kansas, and UNC won. The lowest seeds to advance were perennial contender Syracuse and perennial upsetter Gonzaga and those two teams will play each other, ensuring one—but only one—double-digit seed will advance.
Two of Sunday’s games stand out in summing up a weekend that was very good for the establishment NCAA. Stephen F. Austin, led by (even more) miniature Draymond Green Thomas Walkup, were up by five on Notre Dame. Notre Dame came back and freshman Rex Pflueger, who hadn’t made a basket all game, tipped the ball in with less than two seconds left to win the game.
Nothing compares, though, to what happened in the last 60 seconds of Sunday’s University of Northern Iowa-Texas A&M game. UNI was up twelve on the Aggies and they blew it. I still haven’t wrapped my head around how it happened, but it happened: