March Madness is officially here, and after one weekend of action, many people (or most people) have seen their brackets get completely destroyed. We watched the likes of Yale, Hawaii, Northern Iowa, Middle Tennessee, Arkansas-Little Rock, and Stephen F. Austin all pull off pretty huge first-round upsets.
It didn’t stop there, either. There were multiple other lower seeds that knocked off higher seeds (13 to be exact) in the first round. The upsets, the big comebacks, and the drama of March Madness were all on full display, and that was literally just on Thursday and Friday.
Saturday and Sunday were completely full of fun, as Texas A&M made an absolutely unreal comeback (down by eight with 21.8 seconds remaining to Northern Iowa). In the end, A&M won in double overtime. This was just part of the fun, but let’s take a look at a few of the mistakes that you likely made on your March Madness bracket. And don’t worry, this isn’t just a list of incredible upsets from opening weekend.
5. Believing in Kentucky
Many people thought that the Kentucky Wildcats were just waiting for the big dance to do their damage. Even after their complete domination of Stony Brook in the opening round, it seemed like they were set to take the college basketball world by storm.
Unfortunately for those who picked Kentucky, the Indiana Hoosiers had other plans. Indiana bested the Wildcats in round two of the tournament, and now Kentucky will send the bulk of their roster on to the 2016 NBA Draft. Time for another reload and rebuild for Kentucky in the 2016-17 season.
4. Not believing in the ACC
The ACC lost exactly one team out of seven in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament; the Pittsburgh Panthers fell to the defensive juggernaut Wisconsin Badgers in round one. This means that out of the 16 remaining teams, there are six from the ACC, and the potential for an all-ACC Final Four is actually possible.
The Miami Hurricanes would have to make it out of the South, the Duke Blue Devils out of the West, either the North Carolina Tar Heels or Notre Dame Fighting Irish out of the East, and either the Virginia Cavaliers or Syracuse Orange out of the Midwest. It’s possible, and it would be incredible to see it happen. The ACC is proving its worth right now, even if they aren’t beating the best teams in college basketball — yet.
3. Thinking Gonzaga wasn’t the real deal
The Bulldogs are 28-7 at this point and just absolutely demolished the third-seeded Utah Runnin’ Utes 82-59 to get to the Sweet 16. Many believed that if Gonzaga hadn’t won the West Coast Conference tournament then they wouldn’t have even made the tournament.
Now, they get to the face Syracuse, who’s a 10-seed and in all honesty, isn’t as good as Utah. The Bulldogs may be on their way to the Elite Eight, and even more than that, they may have a serious shot at making the Final Four. This team is the real deal, and they don’t seem to be slowing down.
2. Picking a massive underdog to make a Cinderella run
In the 2016 Sweet 16, it’s basically Gonzaga and Syracuse as the high remaining seeds, and then sixth-seeded Notre Dame after that. For anyone who wanted to see a Florida Gulf Coast-type of run this year, we didn’t get it.
Even if the Bulldogs or Orange wind up making a push into the Final Four, it would be surprising, but not nearly as surprising as if Stephen F. Austin or Middle Tennessee had done it. Picking the first-round upsets looks like it was the right move, but unfortunately selecting any of those wildly unknown teams to make a huge run didn’t really pan out this season.
1. Forgetting about Villanova and Wisconsin
It’s understandable why people overlook the Badgers, as they’re a seventh seed and faced Xavier in the second round. However, Wisconsin though is now facing Notre Dame with a chance to go to the Elite Eight. Talking about them is one thing, but out of the all the one and two seeds in the tournament, the team that was probably overlooked the most was the Villanova Wildcats.
Villanova hadn’t reached the Sweet 16 since 2009, but they held a 34-point lead at one point over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the second round. Jay Wright’s team is playing at an absolutely elite level right now, and their game against Miami in the Sweet 16 should be one of the best on the slate.
Follow Jeff Smith on Twitter @JSM8ith