March Madness is one of the very best times of the year in sports, as Cinderella teams upset major powerhouses and wreak havoc on everyone's tournament brackets. This year has been no different, as we have witnessed exhilarating upsets and exciting games that have gone down to the wire. Whether your team advanced to the next round or suffered a crushing defeat, March Madness brings unparalleled excitement to the NCAA basketball world each year. Here are just a few of the most compelling storylines from the first round games of the NCAA basketball tournament.
#1 Historic Upset - #1 Virginia Loses to #16 UMBC Everyone witnessed history in the making as the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retriever's defeated the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This historic upset was the first time a #16 seed defeated a #1 seed since the NCAA tournament increased to 64 teams in 1985. UMBC was in control for the vast majority of the game, and they shocked the nation with an easy 74-54 victory. Virginia entered the tournament with a 31-2 record with hopes of a deep postseason run, as they were ranked #1 in the entire nation. However, their NCAA tournament hopes were crushed by a little-known college, and they will forever be remembered in NCAA history as the first #1 seed to lose to one of the greatest underdogs in college basketball. This incredible upset just goes to prove that anything is possible during the crazy and unpredictable March Madness season.
#2 Disappointing End - #4 Arizona Loses to #13 Buffalo The Arizona Wildcats season was a rollercoaster ride that was overshadowed by controversies due to the ongoing FBI investigation into illegal payments made to star player Deandre Ayton, a potential top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. The arrest of long-time assistant coach Emanuel Richardson before the season began did not make things any easier, as he was charged with bribery and corruption charges. While the Wildcats tried to move on the from the ongoing scandals, they were upset by the #13 seed Buffalo Bulls. The Bulls stunned the Wildcats with an 89-68 victory and shot 15-30 from the three-point range and got a combined 67 points from all three of their guards. Ultimately, this was just too much for the Arizona Wildcats to overcome, as they suffered a surprise defeat from a college that isn't known as a basketball powerhouse. The future isn't too bright for the Wildcats, as they will most certainly lose their top players to the NBA draft and only have six players returning on scholarship next year, and that's not including any potential sanctions that will result from the ongoing FBI investigation.
#3 Caleb Martin Heroics - #7 Nevada Holds Off #10 Texas in Overtime The game between the Nevada Wolfpack and Texas Longhorns was a highly competitive contest that ultimately had to be decided in overtime. Unfortunately, the Longhorn's were without their top player in overtime, as Mohamed Bamba fouled out with just 3.8 seconds left in regulation. However, Caleb Martin took over for the Nevada Wolfpack in overtime, as he scored nine points, which were all 3-pointers that sealed the victory for the Wolfpack. Martin struggled during regulation, as he shot 1-of-9 from downtown but was able to make up for his poor play with a clutch performance in overtime that will keep the Nevada Wolfpack's hopes alive in the NCAA tournament. Nevada will face #2 seed Cincinnati in the Second round of the NCAA tournament.
The college basketball tournament is only getting started, as more surprising upsets and last-second buzzer beaters will continue throughout the rest of the month. Which team will continue to have a storybook season? Who will emerge as the favorites in a wide open field? All of these questions and more will be answered in the upcoming days, as college basketball teams compete against each other for supremacy.