With one weekend of March Madness in the books, it is safe to say that brackets are busted and everyone’s quest for one billion dollars ended in dejection. However, the first two rounds of March Madness left everyone with a smile and wonderful memories.
Right here in the Southland Conference, history was made when Stephen F. Austin took down Virginia Commonwealth. VCU has become the gold standard for mid-majors over the last few seasons, but SFA took them down in stunning fashion.
The Lumberjacks kept the game within striking distance, but everybody thought they were going to be “a scare in the first round” for VCU. Yet, with less than 10 seconds left and down by four points, SFA hit a long-distance shot and got fouled, giving SFA a chance at a four-point play that would push the game into overtime. Then, the Lumberjacks held steady while VCU faltered, leaving a member of the Southland Conference in the round of 32.
We also witnessed Ohio State University fall victim to its brother. Dayton, complete with a roster full of kids that grew up dreaming of wearing crimson and cream, found themselves taking on the Buckeyes with a chance to claim their spot as the best team in Ohio. The Flyers took care of Ohio State and sent the entire country into frenzy, but they were not done.
Two days later, Dayton took down one of the premier programs in college sports when they thwarted the Syracuse Orange and its vaunted 1-3-1 defense. Syracuse was considered the best team in college basketball until February, when they struggled down the stretch. However, they were still Syracuse, lead by coaching legend Jim Boeheim. The Flyers took down two Goliaths in one weekend and have been rewarded by taking on a 10-seed in the sweet 16.
The Wichita State Shockers took an undefeated record into the tournament. They were looking to be the first team to be perfect since Bob Knight’s Indiana team in 1976. However, the Shockers did not even make it out of the first weekend, losing to star-studded Kentucky in the round of 32. The Shockers had the pedigree for success, coming off of a Final Four appearance the year before, but the youth of the Wildcats proved to be too much for Wichita State.
Creighton great, Doug McDermott, ended his career at the hands of Baylor in the second round as well. McDermott had over 3,000 points in his college career, but could only manage 15 points in his final college game.
The best part about the first weekend of March Madness is that there are still two more weeks of upsets, drama and clutch shots before a champion of college basketball is crowned.