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The Blue & Gray Press | June 24, 2018

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Small schools make a name for themselves in March Madness opening weekend

Small schools make a name for themselves in March Madness opening weekend


Staff Writer

It’s that time of year again, March Madness. It is one of the most exciting times of year for college basketball fans, as they watch to see what teams advance through the NCAA tournament and head to the finals.

Once the teams have been selected for the tournament people across the country make their own brackets to try and predict the results of March Madness. People compare them to others and some even place bets on their brackets, hoping that their predictions are true. Being that it is March Madness it is not easy predicting what will happen because these games have some of the most surprising endings and there is honestly no telling who could win. The first round of the NCAA tournament officially began on Mar. 15th.

The 68 teams in the first round of the NCAA tournament brought many surprises, with some of the lower ranking teams pulling off victories over the teams that, to many, seemed to be contenders, but again, nothing is expected during March Madness. This year’s first round of the tournament meant an early exit for many of the NCAA’s top teams.

Buffalo, a 13 seed, shocked everyone with an impressive win over Arizona, a 4 seed, with the final score resting at 89-68. Buffalo pressured Arizona defensively and offensively, forcing outside shots that Arizona was unable to make, only scoring 2 of 18 three pointers.

Marshall, another 13 seed, beat Wichita State a 4 seed, 81-75. This is the first time that Marshall has played in an NCAA tournament game since 1897. Ball handling played a big role in Wichita State’s loss. With 15 turnovers, this surely contributed to their early elimination in the first round of the tournament.

Loyola-Chicago a 11 seed, beat Miami, a 6 seed, to proceed to the next round of the NCAA tournament. A three-pointer at the buzzer gave Loyola-Chicago the win over Miami, the final score was 64-62. Much like Marshall, in another long absence from an NCAA Tournament, Loyola-Chicago appeared for the first time in 33 years.

Nevada, a 7 seed, and Texas, a 10 seed, faced-off in a hard fought battle that led to overtime. In the final seconds of the second half, Nevada was fouled and sent to the free throw line where they tied the game and sent it into overtime. Nevada won, 87-83, which marked their first win an NCAA Tournament since 2007.

One of the most surprising results from the first round of the NCAA Tournament was the a 16 seed, UMBC or University of Maryland-Baltimore County, win over a 1 seed Virginia.

UMBC came into the game as the underdog and came out victorious in what was not a close game. UMBC won 74-54 against Virginia. Being that Virginia was a 1 seed team, this game shocked many because being the top ranked team in the NCAA, fans would expect Virginia to at least make it towards the end of the tournament, not eliminated in the first round. That’s  exactly what March Madness brings out, competitive gameplay and unsuspecting endings that leave fans wanting more.

Other top teams that won in the first round of the NCAA tournament were Xavier, MI State, UNC, Cincinnati, Purdue, Villanova, Duke, Tennessee, Michigan, Texas Tech and Kansas.

There was a lot of excitement in the first round and there is much more to come. The first and second round of the NCAA tournament will conclude over the course of the weekend. Following that, we will see what teams make it through Sweet 16, Elite Eight, the Final Four, and finally the matchup that will decide who will take home the National championship which is scheduled to be on Apr. 2.

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