March Sadness: unpredictable upsets lead to busted brackets

Hanny Wolkoff and Matt Arena

This year’s March Madness tournament has certainly lived up to its name. In what is perhaps the most uncertain tournament the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has ever seen, the early upsets that have taken place have been unpredictable.

The Virginia Cavaliers, seeded first in the south division, fell early in the first round to the 16th seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers. According to the NCAA, the Cavaliers were chosen as the ultimate champion by 13.73% of bracket holders, so the early loss busted brackets across the country. UMBC became the first 16th seed to upset the one seed in men’s tournament history and will be going down in the record books.

This seemed to be a trend throughout the Southern Division as another favorited by many, University of Arizona, fell to the 13 seeded Buffalo Bulls again in the first round, busting millions of brackets across the country. Buffalo fell at the hands of fifth seeded Kentucky, and the Bulls season came to an end.

Syracuse University, a team that many doubted would even make it to the tournament, have come away on top of each of its first three games and wound up in the Sweet Sixteen. The 11th seeded Orange took down Arizona State in a play-in game for an opportunity to write their own cinderella story. Placed in the Midwest Division, Syracuse went on to beat 6th seeded Texas Christian University, for a chance at defeating another storied program in Michigan State University. Their run would end after a loss to Duke, who was ultimately defeated by Kansas in the Elite Eight.

Once again, a #1 seed fell early, this time Xavier is the team to bite the dust after falling in the second round to Florida State with a final score of 75-70.  In the first round, Florida State, seeded ninth, beat the eighth seed Missouri. After defeating Gonzaga on March 22, Florida continued the run to the Elite Eight where they faced off against Michigan, although the Wolverines ended their season in a close game.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels, the reigning NCAA champions, were seeded second in the West Division at the start of March Madness, were chosen as the winner by 6.98% of bracket holders according to the NCAA. 7th seeded Texas A&M unexpectedly defeated UNC in just the second round, once again busting brackets across the country. Texas ultimately fell to the Michigan Wolverines in the Sweet Sixteen, ending their run.
  Loyola Chicago and Kansas State, two unlikely teams, met in the Elite Eight. The eleventh and ninth seeds busted brackets everywhere, and Loyola Chicago came out on top. Their Cinderella Story would continue into the Final Four, where they will be playing the Wolverines of Michigan.

The Final Four took place on March 31, where Loyola Chicago faced off off against Michigan and the Kansas Jayhawks played Villanova, both for a shot at competing for the championship title.

The championship game will take place on April 2 in San Antonio, where Villanova will battle Michigan for the NCAA title.