We have waited almost two years for this, and it has not disappointed. March Madness is in full effect. Including huge upsets, storylines and bracket busters, let’s visit the first eight teams to survive the first weekend in the NCAA Tournament.
15 Oral Roberts Defeated 7 Florida, 81-78.
Absolutely devastating. Here it looked like the Gators dodged a bullet getting Oral Roberts instead of Ohio State. Far from the case. This is the first time since FGCU in 2013 that a 15 seed advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Here is the recap of the final Florida basketball game this season. Moving on to other upsets…
8 Loyola Chicago Defeated 1 Illinois, 71-58.
Monumental bracket buster and a new king of the state. Illinois was coming off a Big Ten tournament championship and received the schools first one seed since 2005.
You probably remember Loyola Chicago from their unbelievable final four run back in 2018. The Ramblers, led by Cameron Krutwig and Sister Jean, are not a team to overlook. Head Coach Porter Moser’s offense looked unstoppable and it their defense forced the fighting Illini to bail on their offense, explaining their low scoring. Illinois never led, first time this season. Loyola Chicago will face another big upset team in the Sweet Sixteen, Oregon State.
12 Oregon State Defeated 4 Oklahoma State, 80-70.
Although Gonzaga is on a 31-game win streak, Oregon State might be one of the hottest teams in the March Madness tournament. Coming off an improbable PAC-12 tournament championship run, The Beavers have now stunned fifth-seed Tennessee and fourth-seed Oklahoma State.
The Beavers are on a five game win streak and have won eight of their last nine. In their last five games, all the wins are over NCAA tournament teams and the Beavers have shot 41% or better in all of those contest.
Tight Top Seed Contests
- 2 Houston defeated 10 Rutgers, 63-60. The Scarlett Knights were coming off their first NCAA tournament win since 1983. It seemed the moment became too big against Houston. Up by nine in the final five minutes, Rutgers watched their Sweet Sixteen appearance slip away with a late and-1 score by Tramon Mark. Houston will face Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen.
- 11 Syracuse beat 3 West Virginia, 75-72. Jim Boeheim seems to being making a habit of this. With a win on Sunday, Syracuse earned a Sweet 16 bid for the third time in six years as a 10 seed or higher in the NCAA Tournament. The ‘Cuse zone takes time to adjust to and by the time teams figure it out, the Orange may have already shot you out of the contest.
- 3 Arkansas won over 6 Texas Tech, 68-66. Going into Sunday, this was probably the most anticipated game. A back-and-forth game that came down to the final shot. Arkansas head coach, Eric Musselman and his Running Razorbacks, will face off against 15 Oral Roberts in the Sweet Sixteen.
— Hogtoons (@realrayzorback) March 22, 2021
Taking Care of Business
- 5 Villanova beat 13 North Texas handedly, 84-61. Jay Wright and the Wildcats are missing their starting point guard, Collin Gillespie for this tournament. Yet, Nova takes care of two lower seeds this weekend. They will have a serious task coming up against the one seeded Baylor Bears.
- 1 Baylor bested 9 Wisconsin, 76-63. This game was a reminder that Baylor is a legit contender and above all, a fantastically talented basketball team. Scott Drew’s roster is loaded and very deep. They are the best three point shooting team in the country, but can beat teams many different ways.
The best part is, we get to do it all over again today and see if any more storylines and memories can be made in March Madness. By tomorrow, we will have a full Sweet Sixteen. How sweet it is.