Let The Madness Begin

By Lawrence Lang

It may only be the opening day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, but an upset city has already begun in the tournament, and who doesn’t love a good upset? That’s what makes the NCAA tournament so unique: one game super sudden-death type tournament where you win, you go on, you lose, and you go home. For this year’s tournament, some teams that were thought to be heavily favored containers for a national title have had those dreams busted by the lower seeds, so let’s break it down with Thursday’s upsets in the tournament. 

We will start with the big upset so far: The 15-seed Princeton Tigers take down the 2nd-seed Arizona Wildcats in a nail-biter of a game 59-55. The Wildcats were up eight in the first half (14-6), which was also the biggest lead of the half for the Wildcats. The Tigers would hang in there, slowly decreasing Arizona’s lead to get to half-time. They would shut out Arizona from scoring in the last four minutes of the half and score six points to end the half and make the score 30-31, only being down one. This was a thrilling game to watch if you were watching.  

In the 2nd half, Arizona would be up nine early, and they would take complete control of the game and go on to the next round. But that was not the case. Princeton would begin the comeback with a Blake Peters three-pointer to cut the lead to six, 35-41. Scoring would go back and forth threw the middle of the 2nd half, then in the back half of the 2nd quarter, Princeton took command and began to strike Arizona’s lead down. They are going on a 10-2 run, making it 48-51 Arizona. Arizona would score again 48-53. Arizona would score the last points by Azuolas Tubelis 50-55. After that, Princeton would go on a 9-0 run to end the game, winning 59-55. They become the 11th No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 seed in the tournament and mark the third year in a row a no. 15 seed has beaten a No. 2 seed last two years, Oral Roberts def Ohio state (2021), and saint peters beat Kentucky last year (2022). Maybe the crazy notion of a 15 seed never winning is over, and we are in a new era of the tournament where anyone could beat anyone now, and the theory isn’t a myth anymore. Forward  Tosan Evbuomwan leads Princeton in scoring with 15 points. 

The other major upset that happened yesterday involves the university of Virginia. If you don’t know, in the 2018 men’s NCAA basketball tournament, Virginia made history in the wrong way when they became the first no. 1 seed to lose to a No.16 seed (UMBC). Granted, the redemption year in 2019 was sweet when they won the national title. History has yet to repeat it since losing to a 16 seed this year, but they have had yet another early exit from the tournament. No. 4 Virginia has lost to the no. 13 seed Furman. Furman is a private liberal arts college out of Greenville, South Carolina. The men’s basketball team has made only a little history before yesterday’s win. They had six appearances in the tournament, where their only significant success came in 1974 when they made the sweet 16. That’s past, and this is today. In another nail bitter of a game, Furman would keep it close with Virgina and even take the lead at one point (61-58). Then Virigna got the lead back and seemed to hunker down for the game’s final moments. With the score 65-67, Virginia leading, they would have to find a way with 12 seconds left to keep the basketball, and they would move on. However, Furman Garett Hien got a steal off Virginia’s Kihei Clark.

The Furman moment was here, and three things could happen: you tie the game and have the chance to go over time. Two, you miss, and the season is over, or three, say, you know what, let’s go for the win. Option three was the choice for Furman, and in the words of Mike Breen, BANG. JP Peguess hit the go-ahead three 68-67 and with two seconds left. Virginia’s last shot was Reece Beekman, a three-pointer was no good, and Furman got upset and moved on. They are the 32nd 13 seed to beat a no four seed, and it was the first time since 2021 that a no 13 seed had beaten a no. 4 seed. North Texas and Ohio were the last 13 seeds to do the job. Forward Jalen Slawson led the team in scoring with 19 points.  

Overheating happened yesterday. These games could have gone either easy since they were close in seeding. 

No.10 Penn State beat no7. Texas AM 76-59

No.9 Auburn beat no. 8 Iowa 83-75 

Your one near upset was no. 13 Louisiana and no. 4 Tennessee. Tennessee just edged out Louisiana 58-55. Tennessee Julian Phillips made a free throw to seal the game for them. This shows that upsets can happen at any point, and it was right here. However, Tennessee made the baskets when needed to ensure their season was still alive. 

This was just day one of The Men’s Basketball Tournament, and will we see an upset in today’s action? 


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