Thursday’s slate of opening round action from the NCAA Tournament was pretty insane with Providence’s buzzer beater over USC along with Yale, Wichita State, and Arkansas-Little Rock all pulling off rather large upsets. As if it were even possible, however, Friday’s action was even crazier as big-time heavyweights fell while two teams hailing from the same state won at the buzzer. Let’s recap.
No. 15 Middle Tennessee State 90, No. 2 Michigan State 81
“We got beat by a team that played better than us today.” — Tom Izzo after shocking loss to Middle Tennessee Statehttps://t.co/I1NpzEIIAd
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) March 18, 2016
Big 10 champion and No. 2 seed in the South Region, Michigan State, fell to Middle-Tennessee State in St. Louis on Friday, pretty much destroying the majority of America’s brackets. According to ESPN, the Michigan State Spartans were the most highly bet-on team to win the 2016 NCAA Tournament in multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks and were picked in 38% of ESPN.com’s tournament challenge brackets to reach the title game in Houston. It is very safe to say that absolutely nobody saw this one coming and why would they with Tom Izzo’s track record in big games over the last decade? While it is not a No. 1 seed going down to a No. 16 seed (which has never occurred in NCAA Tournament history), it may as well have been due to how many people across the country were picking the Spartans to hoist the trophy. Certainly a devastating loss for the majority of America’s gambling degenerates/bracket fillers and for Michigan State, and an unbelievable victory for the Middle-Tennessee State Blue Raiders. The way MTSU dominated play from the start on Friday was incredible as the Spartans never led in this game. Easily one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Middle Tennessee becomes the eighth team in NCAA Tournament history to pull off the 15-2 upset, the first since Florida Gulf Coast accomplished the feat in 2013 with its first round win over Georgetown.
No. 11 Northern Iowa Stuns No. 6 Texas 75-72 With Absurd Half-Court Buzzer Beater
Middle-Tennesse State may have pulled off the biggest upset of the day on Friday, but Northern Iowa easily took the cake for the best finish. With 2.6 seconds to play, Texas’s Isaiah Taylor knotted the game at 72 with a jumper from about 8-feet out. After inbounding the ball for one last heave, UNI’s Paul Jesperson made a ridiculous 46-foot shot from half court at the buzzer to give the Panthers the upset victory and a Sunday date with No. 3 Texas AM in the round of 32. The Providence buzzer beater from Thursday was certainly awesome, but nothing is more thrilling than seeing a half court shot go down to give a team victory at the buzzer.
No. 7 Iowa Downs No. 10 Temple In Overtime At The Buzzer
The State of Iowa is 3-0 in this year’s NCAA Tournament, with No. 4 Iowa State, No. 11 Northern Iowa, and now No. 7 Iowa having all advanced to the second round, with two of the three Iowan-school first-round victories coming at the buzzer. Iowa got quite the first-round scare from No. 10 Temple on Friday evening as after each team traded blows throughout, the Hawkeyes and Owls required overtime to decide who would face No. 2 Villanova on Sunday in the round of 32. With five seconds to play in the overtime, Iowa’s Mike Gesell missed a jump shot, but the rebound was grabbed by Adam Woodbury who put home a layup as time expired to send the Hawkeyes to the next round. Maybe it’s something in the water in Iowa, but right now the state’s college basketball teams are providing America with some incredible entertainment.
No. 14 Stephen F. Austin Upsets No. 3 West Virginia 70-56
— theScore (@theScore) March 19, 2016
For the second straight season, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks cracked the field of 68. On Friday, the school got their first ever win in the round of 64 with a 70-56 victory over Big 12 runner-up and No. 3 seed, West Virginia in the East Region in Brooklyn. Again, this was another bracket buster as West Virginia was picked by 42% of America to make the Sweet 16 according to ESPN.
What To Look Forward To…
If you are one of those people who’s entire bracket just got demolished with Michigan State and West Virginia getting ousted, just sit back, relax, and root for one of these underdogs to make a deep run. You certainly have your choices with Wichita State, Middle-Tennessee State, Northern Iowa, and Stephen F. Austin, so hop on a bandwagon if your bracket is already in shambles. If not, you can certainly look forward to these two matchups on Saturday:
No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 4 Kentucky
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 9 UConn
Four big-name programs will take to the court in the round of 32 on Saturday with Indiana facing off against Kentucky, and Kansas battling UConn. It’s a shame that two of these four heavyweights will not be around next weekend, but these should still be two awesome games to watch, especially with the history all four teams share.