NCAA Tournament shocks with upsets and chalk alike
March Madness defies prediction. Every year, millions of Americans, from office pools across the country to President Obama fill out brackets and within a few hours most are so laughably wrong that Warren Buffett was willing to wager a billion dollars of his own money that no one would be unscathed at the end of the tournament in April.
Needless to say Buffet is still very much a billionaire and in hundreds of office pools the die-hard college basketball fans are bemoaning how the person who picked based on uniform colors beat them.
This year was no different with the first three games showing three of the 3 seeds taken to the buzzer by their mid major 14 seed counterparts. Notre Dame barely made it out alive by forcing a last second turnover against Northeastern, but Baylor and Iowa State were not as lucky, losing to Georgia State and UAB respectively.
The Georgia State squad barely won its conference tournament and had a coach celebrating so hard he tore his Achilles, leading to the comical moment of him falling off his stool when his son hit the game winning shot. UAB athletics has been struggling so badly they just disbanded the football team due to lack of funds. These are the stories of the giant killers who felled two of the top teams from a Big 12 Conference so talented that 70 percent of the conference made it in to the tournament.
The first day had five games decided by a single point and two go into overtime, but the second day was nearly as bizarre because of the lack of upsets and close games. The iconic 5–12 upset never happened and the tournament shockingly went almost as predicted with only 11 seed Dayton’s win over 6 seed Providence to close out the day not going as expected.
No one expects “chalk” or all of the favorites to win, but to have two days so diametrically opposed was strange even by tournament standard. This weekend, the tournament still couldn’t decide what its identity should be with 1 seed Villanova losing to 8 seed North Carolina St. and 7 seed Michigan St. knocking off 2 seed Virginia to leave the Eastern Regional without its top two seeds, but everything else was shockingly expected with Kentucky continuing its dominating undefeated season by blowing out Cincinnati and Arizona crushing Ohio State.
In a year where almost everyone has Kentucky winning it all, and anyone picking otherwise just praying for an upset to win some money, March Madness is still struggling to find its identity. It could be the year of the Cinderella story or that of the dominant top seeds imposing their will on the competition.
There are still two more weekends to go, and really all anyone knows is that there is bound to be some entertaining basketball. That and the fact that everyone’s brackets are likely more valuable as fire kindling than any chance at making money in your pool.