No. 16 UMBC, along with No. 11 Loyola-Chicago, have been breaking brackets and hearts this March
The 2018 NCAA March Madness tournament kicked off last Thursday with a bang.
With two No. 1 seeds in the tournament already knocked out of the tournament, and a No. 16 seed winning a game for the first time in tournament history, March Madness has lived up to the name this year.
Perhaps the most stunning upset in the history of this tournament, the No. 16 University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s victory over Virginia. This upset marked the first time in history that a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 seed. What was even more surprising is that Virginia was the No. 1 overall seed in this tournament, finishing the season with the best record in the nation at 31-3.
Surprisingly, the game ended up being somewhat anticlimactic. The game would end 74-54 in favor of UMBC, but the game was never truly in doubt. With five minutes to play, there was a feeling that Virginia was down and out.
Another team that has been captivating the nation is Loyola University Chicago. Loyola entered the tournament as the No. 11 seed and defeated No. 6 Miami (FL) on a buzzer-beater in the first round. Part of their success is due in part to Sister Jean. Sister Jean leads the team prayer prior to every game and has become a viral sensation since the tournament began.
Loyola has not lost yet, as they upset No. 3 Tennessee in the second round by a score of 63-62.
Two teams that have looked like they could win the entire tournament at points this season included No. 2 North Carolina and No. 3 Michigan State. Both teams were defeated in the second round. North Carolina lost to No. 7 Texas A&M by a score of 86-65, while Michigan State lost 55-53 to No. 11 Syracuse.
The No. 1 Xavier Musketeers were defeated 75-70 by No. 9 Florida State. The No. 2 Cincinnati Bearcats were defeated by No. 7 Nevada, 75-73.
Out of 64 teams, only seven of the top 16 teams overall remain. Some of the top teams remaining include No. 1 Villanova, No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Duke, No. 2 Purdue, No. 3 Michigan, and No. 5 West Virginia. Some of the underdogs remaining include No. 9 Kansas State, No. 7 Nevada, No. 11 Loyola Chicago, No. 9 Florida State, and No. 11 Syracuse.
The team with the best chance to win the tournament this year is Villanova. Villanova has had commanding victories thus far in a tournament filled with upsets. They also have post-season experience, having made the tournament for the last six seasons and having won it all in 2016.