So everyone had the Loyola-Nevada matchup in the Sweet 16, right? My guess is probably not. But that’s why we love college basketball in March. The unexpected happens every year in that first weekend of play.
From UMBC upsetting Virginia to Loyola’s incredible finishes to Jordan Poole’s buzzer beater, the first weekend of the tournament left us a lot of memories. Last weekend also gave a little bit clearer of a picture in terms of who the true contenders are to cut down the nets in San Antonio.
Here are five takeaways from the first weekend of “March Madness:”
Stop Discrediting UMBC
The Retrievers of the University of Baltimore-Maryland-County were the story of the weekend, despite being knocked out of the tournament Sunday against Kansas State.
They were the first team to ever knock off a 1 seed in 136 tries. Yet, some people aren’t so high on UMBC, and instead, are ripping Virginia.
First of all, let me just say, that I have never trusted UVA’s style of play. It’s very difficult to hold good teams under 60 points a game in a one and done setting, and they have too many stretches where they simply can’t score the basketball.
However, at the end of the day, UVA was 17-1 in the nation’s best conference. They breezed through their conference tournament and only lost two games all season.
UMBC beat Vermont on a buzzer-beating three to even get into the Dance. On top of that, they lost to Albany by 43 points earlier in the season. But somehow, UMBC went and beat Virginia by 20 points.
That is nothing short of miraculous and historical. Say whatever you want about Virginia. They didn’t come to play. But to discredit UMBC in any way, shape or form, is wrong. They beat a very good Virginia team, and they deserved every bit of credit that came their way.