The first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is officially in the books and this year’s first two rounds did not disappoint; especially in the Midwest Region. This region may have provided the most “madness” with five upsets alone in the first round that included Michigan State falling to Middle Tennessee.
The Spartans came into this year’s tournament as a two seed and were one the top picks to win it all according to ESPN. The Blue Raiders never trailed in the game and eventually walked away with a 90-81 victory. Michigan State was the second ranked RPI team and with their loss as well.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 18, 2016
Middle Tennessee wasn’t the only team to pull the upset in the first round. Syracuse beat Dayton, Gonzaga beat Seton Hall, Arkansas Little-Rock defeated Purdue, and Butler took down Texas Tech.
Gonzaga and Syracuse both continued their momentum in the round of 32. The Bulldogs pulled the upset over Utah, crushing the three seed 82-59. Syracuse ended the Blue Raiders’ Cinderella run by defeating them 75-50. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim praised the play of Middle Tennessee to their coach, Kermit Davis.
Syracuse was a team many thought didn’t deserve a bid, but the Orange have made the most of it. In their first two games they have suffocated opposing offenses with their zone, holding both opponents to under 35 percent shooting from the floor. Coach Jim Boeheim also is now second all time with 18 Sweet 16 appearances.
In the top half of the bracket Virginia advanced to the Sweet 16 with a win over Butler, while Iowa State dominated Arkansas Little-Rock 78-61. Virginia and Syracuse are two of the record six ACC teams to reach the Sweet 16 joining Duke, Miami, North Carolina and Notre Dame. Virginia head coach Tony Bennett says that playing in the ACC helps these teams prepare for the tournament because of the tough competition.
Virginia takes on Iowa State this Saturday at 7:10 p.m. and Syracuse goes up against Gonzaga on Saturday with tip-off set for 9:50 p.m.