Every year during the NCAA Tournament, College Basketball fans fall in love with the cinderella teams. This year is no different through the first round. We have seen five massive upsets with double-digit seeds defeating their counterparts and lighting a spark across the NCAA Tournament landscape. After all, it’s the mid-majors that make the NCAA Tournament so exciting. Unlike the College Football Playoffs, all 68 teams have the same opportunity to win at a high level.
All five programs had program-defining wins in the first round, so why stop now?
Who are these five Mid-Major programs? And, how did they get in this position to compete for bid in the Sweet 16?
Let’s start with the three teams from Friday’s action that left their high seed stunned.
It was the 15th seeded Oral Roberts with the stunning 75-72 win over the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes to start the Madness. Oral Roberts will now face the 7th seeded Florida Gators out of the Southeastern Conference on Sunday night at 6:45. Oral Roberts comes into the game with the Gators on a bit of a hot streak after winning their last six games including, the Summit League Championship game over North Dakota State.
Shortly following the Oral Roberts victory over Ohio State, you had Oregon State the 12 seed taking down the boys from Rocky Top 70-56. Before taking down Tennessee, Oregon State had not won an NCAA Tournament game since 1980 when the Beavers defeated Idaho. Oregon State is a team that loves the underdog role after being picked to finish 12th in the Pac 12 in the preseason. Oregon State will take on Cade Cunningham and the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.
Late that evening, it was the 13th seed North Texas Mean Green with the thrilling overtime win over the 4th seeded Purdue Boilermakers 78-69. North Texas, out of the Conference USA, is a team that has gotten hot as of late and doesn’t look to be slowing down as they get ready for their matchup with Villanova on Sunday night.
Although not as exciting as the day before, Saturday still gave us two massive upsets that were programming defining wins for the two programs involved.
In one of the first games of the Evening session on Saturday night, we had the 13th seeded Ohio Bobcats stunning the defending National Champions in Virginia by a score of 62-58. Unlike their counterparts in Ohio State, the Bobcats came to Indiana ready to dance. Ohio will now play the 6th seed out of the PAC 12, the USC Trojans, Monday afternoon.
In the late game on Saturday night, it was the 14th seed Abilene Christian stunning their state school in the Texas Longhorns. From the opening tip, Abilene Christian and Texas battled it out as expected. Texas hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 8.7 seconds left on the clock, but that left Abilene Christian with just enough time to get a foul called and hit two game-winning free throws. Abilene Christian will survive another day to take on the 11th seeded UCLA Bruins on Monday afternoon.
If the first two days of the NCAA Tournament were any indication of what’s to come, we’re truly in for a treat. So, sit back, cheer on these mid-majors, and enjoy the ride! There’s nothing like March Madness.