If you went with favorites in the NCAA men's basketball championship Round Two (which is Round One if you don’t count the play-in games), your brackets are a mess in this year’s March Madness bracket games. The tournament is off to a good start with 32 games on Thursday with many surprising upsets.
Sports talk radio and cable sports talk commentators have been saying since the Sunday brackets were announced that there is plenty of parity in the NCAA tournament, but unless the tide turns in the late games you wouldn’t know it from Thursday’s action.
Midwest twelve seed Oregon beat number five seed Oklahoma State and West nine seed Wichita State won over eight seed Pittsburgh, but otherwise the favorites prevailed. A nine seed beating an eight seed isn’t much of an upset, and in the early games there was only one real blowout. The biggest final margin in the early games came in Wichita’s win by 23 points over Pittsburgh.
East number twelve seed California was bested by number five UNLV in one of the later starts, but Thursday's biggest upset came in the Midwest bracket. Number fourteen Harvard beat number three New Mexico. A number of analysts has New Mexico progressing to the final four. After Harvard's win, the second surprising upset was number thirteen LaSalle's victory over number four Kansas State.
While Kansas State took a hard loss from Kansas in the Big 12 Championship game, LaSalle had to win a play-in game against Boise State to play Kansas State. They did so and continued their strong play against Kansas State. The Explorers shot better than the Wildcats from behind the arc and at the free throw line and that was the margin for victory.
The most stunning upset came on Friday night with the improbable win of Florida Gulf Coast over number two seed Georgetown. FCCU finished second in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but they beat Miami (FL), another number two seed, in November.
The big upset on Saturday was Wichita State over Gonzaga. The number nine Shockers definitely shocked the Zags with a 76-70 win. The other Saturday upset was number 12 Oregon over number four St. Louis.
Local favorite Syracuse is the fourth seed in the East, but with their game against number thirteen Montana tipped off in San Jose, California (how’s that for an Eastern location?) at 10:41 pm. Yes, Syracuse did prevail over Montana. It was the most lopsided score of the tournament thus far, 81-34.
Syracuse continued their path toward the Final Four with a victory on Saturday in San Jose over number twelve California. Next up for the Orange are the East's top seed, the Indiana Hoosiers, on Thursday night.
In the early night games on Thursday, Midwest bracket top seed Louisville easily handled number sixteen North Carolina A&T. South number four Michigan had little trouble dispatching number thirteen San Diego State. West number six seed manhandled number eleven Belmont.
If you picked the right upsets, your second round brackets are in good shape. Even with the parity seen by the analysts, you had to pick the right match-ups to find the upsets. So, how are your brackets looking?