Upsets, overtimes, and buzzer-beaters—the Madness has begun—Monday Morning Realist


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

Mar 19, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; General view of the mid court logo during practice before the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of every NCAA Basketball Tournament, we see a highlight reel featuring the signature moments of March Madness set to the tune of Luther Vandross’ “One Shining Moment”.

The opening weekend of the tourney could produce such a reel in itself—and we still haven’t reached the Final Four, or the crowning of a national champion.

Already, this Tournament has been like many in the past—small mid-majors rising to the occasion to the point where they not only compete with teams from “power conferences”, but even beating them. It has been fun to watch, hasn’t it Realists?

That is, of course, unless your team has already been eliminated. It doesn’t even make a difference at this point if your bracket has been busted, because unless you can predict the future ala Raven Baxter, it likely already has.

By the way—this year’s song chosen for the Tournament is “Shot at the Night” by The Killers. This Realist approves. Many on Twitter are comparing this track to Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”, but that’s perhaps only because of the 80’s sound the song has.

Anyway—on to the games themselves!

From 68…

Mar 21, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Mercer Bears guard Kevin Canevari (3), forward Jakob Gollon (20) and guard Ike Nwamu (10) celebrates after beating the Duke Blue Devils in a men

Albany, North Carolina State, Cal Poly, and Tennessee all won their respective matchups on Tuesday and Wednesday in order to advance to the field of 64.

Florida’s win over Albany wasn’t much of a surprise as they beat them 67-55, but for a huge portion of that game, it appeared that Albany could pull off the unimaginable to become the first 16 to best a 1—eventually reality set in as they normally do for these 16’s.

Such a crazy state of affairs it can be when a 1/16 game is more competitive than that of an 8/9—but that was the case with Pittsburgh and Colorado as Pitt throttled the Buffaloes by a final score of 77-48 for their largest victory in NCAA Tournament history.

Upsets were also aplenty in the tournament as always. Stephen F. Austin, a 12 seed, defeated Shaka Smart’s 5 seeded VCU 77-75. In Ohio, most of the college sports attention is put on the Buckeyes of Ohio State. The Dayton Flyers proved that they not only belonged on the same court as Ohio State, they could beat them too. As an 11 seed, they defeated Ohio State 60-59.

Three 12-seeded teams were victorious in the Round of 64. Who says that Harvard is only a school based on brains? Apparently, there are talented basketball players in the Ivy League as well. The Crimson of Harvard were too much for the Cincinnati Bearcats as they defeated them 61-57. North Dakota State beat the Oklahoma Sooners 80-75, and the Saint Louis Billikens (and their mascot, of course) nearly were upset themselves by 12 seeded North Carolina State. Saint Louis did win 83-80.

The largest upset, arguably, of the Tournament, thus far was one that had to make most college basketball fans outside of the Research Triangle pleased—was when Duke fell to the Mercer Bears 78-71. For all of the accolades that Duke basketball gets, they have been one-and-doned two of the last three tournaments. After all—they once lost to 15-seeded Lehigh as a 2 seed.

In addition, defending national champions Louisville were nearly upset by the Manhattan Jaspers before Luke Hancock sinked some clutch three-pointers late to seal the deal for the Cardinals. Doug McDermott scored 30 for Creighton over Louisiana-Lafayette en route to a 76-66 victory. North Carolina barely escaped a challenge from the 11 seeded Providence Friars, 79-77

To 32…

Mar 23, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15) dunks the ball over Wichita State Shockers forward Darius Carter (12) during the first half in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men

Florida defeated Pittsburgh 61-45 behind 20 from Scottie Wilbekin. UCLA also won as they defeated Stephen F. Austin 77-60. Cinderella this year must be wearing red—after beating Ohio State, Dayton then defeated Syracuse 55-53. Remember, Realists that Syracuse was a team that started the 2013-2014 campaign at a robust 25-0. Also, that the last time Dayton was in the Sweet Sixteen was in 1984.

A well-known Dayton alum by the name of Dan Patrick was 28 years old in 1984.

“Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” missed one of the solid rocks of its team—Joel Embiid, who would’ve likely returned to suit up for Kansas in Memphis has they made the Sweet Sixteen. Anthony Wiggins only scoring four points doesn’t help the Jayhawks’ cause either. It showed as Kansas, a tournament favorite, was beaten by the Stanford Cardinal 60-57, despite a pair of late Kansas three pointers that still kept hope alive in Lawrence.

Virginia defeated Memphis 78-60 and Michigan State ended Harvard’s Cinderella bid with an 80-73 victory.

Connecticut also won as they defeated Villanova 77-65. Iowa State was victorious over North Carolina by a final score of 85-83, despite some questionable clock issues near the end of the game. The Tar Heels also lost Bryce Johnson to an ankle injury that sidelined him for the remainder of their game against the Cyclones.

Michigan defeated Texas 79-65 and Tennessee ended Mercer’s bid at a Cinderella with an 83-63 win. Hancock’s 21 points for Louisville allowed them to defeat Saint Louis 66-51. Kentucky…well, shocked the Wichita State Shockers 78-76. Wichita State was (unfairly) much maligned for going undefeated for the season without playing teams that would be considered “real” competition. Most likely, this loss will give fuel to that fire that could use some dousing with some water.

85-77 was the score for Wisconsin over Oregon. Also, surprisingly, Baylor dominated Creighton 85-55 as the 6-seeded Bears held McDermott to 15 points—obviously a drop off after dropping 30 on the Ragin Cajuns’ of Louisiana Lafayette.

Speaking of 30 point-scorers, that’s how much Xavier Thames scored for San Diego State over North Dakota State in a 63-44 victory for the Aztecs. Arizona also put an end to Gonzaga’s season with an 84-61 victory.

This means that we are entering the midst of a Sweet Sixteen portion of an NCAA Tournament without Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Anthony Wiggins, Doug McDermott, or Marcus Smart.

Realists, March has gone mad once again, indeed.

To a Sweet Sixteen

Mar 22, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Dayton Flyers forward Devin Oliver (5), Dayton Flyers forward/center Matt Kavanaugh (35) and Dayton Flyers forward/center Devon Scott (40) celebrate beating Syracuse Orange with teammates after of a men

South (Memphis) Region:

Dayton vs. Stanford—7:15 pm on March 27th on CBS

Florida vs. UCLA—9:45 pm on March 27th on CBS

East (New York) Region:

Iowa State vs. Connecticut—7:27 pm on March 28th on TBS

Virginia vs. Michigan State—9:57 pm on March 28th on TBS

West (Anaheim) Region:

Baylor vs. Wisconsin—7:47 pm on March 27th on TBS

Arizona vs. San Diego State—10:17 pm on March 27th on TBS

Midwest (Indianapolis) Region:

Tennessee vs. Michigan—7:15 pm on March 28th on CBS

Kentucky s. Louisville—9:45 pm on March 28th on CBS

How about a helping of more Madness this weekend, Realists? Sounds like a plan.