The 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament has earned its nickname this year. This season’s March Madness officially broke a record for the highest seed total and average in Sweet Sixteen tournament history.
The previous record, in 1986, held a Sweet Sixteen seed total of 89. However, with the number of upsets this year, the total sits at 94.
March Madness Upset City
Oral Roberts Takes Down Florida
As the highest seed remaining in the tournament, Oral Roberts is proving the statistics wrong. The Golden Eagles defeated No. 2 seed Ohio State in the first round of the tournament, 75-72, and then the No. 7 Florida Gators in the second round, 81-78.
In their matchup with the Gators, Oral Roberts came back from an 11-point deficit to defeat Florida. With over two minutes left in the game, D.J. Weaver made a three-pointer that gave the Golden Eagles the 80-78 game-winning lead.
Oral Roberts head coach Paul Mills had this to say about his team’s tournament run:
The Golden Eagles are the second No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen in tournament history. Now their sights are set on their matchup with another SEC opponent in the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Oral Roberts is going to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1974.
The Golden Eagles are the second 15th seed to reach the Sweet 16, joining Florida Gulf Coast in 2013.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 22, 2021
USC Gets Best of No. 3 Kansas
The USC Trojans routed the Kansas Jayhawks 85-51 in the Round of 32. The Trojans will be making their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2007.
It was a combination of poor shooting and missed opportunities for the Jayhawks. Kansas shot 29 percent from the field compared to USC’s 57.1 percent.
USC freshman forward Evan Mobley stated the big key for the Trojans was going to be their defense.
This proved to be true as the Trojans almost doubled the number of defensive rebounds compared to Kansas, 35-18.
USC will go up against another team coming off of an upset in the No. 7 Oregon Ducks.
Oregon Defeats No. 2 Iowa
The No. 7 Oregon Ducks took a decisive Round of 32 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes, 95-80.
The well-rested Ducks outshot the Hawkeyes from the three and from field goal range. The Ducks’ starting lineup had a successful day, four out of the five Oregon starters dropped at 17 points or more. It was a game where Oregon connected with the basket and was quicker on defense.
— GoDucks (@GoDucks) March 22, 2021
Iowa star senior center Luka Garza commented on how the Oregon offense got the best of the Hawkeyes’ defense. Garza put up 36 points and nine rebounds against Oregon.
The Ducks will go up against the No. 6 USC Trojans in the Sweet Sixteen.
Loyola Shocks Top-Ranked Illinois
One of the biggest surprises of the tournament came in Loyola Chicago‘s 71-58 victory over No. 1 Illinois. The Ramblers managed to knock out the number one seed and bust a lot of brackets in the process.
The Ramblers were able to contain the Illinois offense that has been so explosive throughout the season. Illinois was held to under 45 percent from the field and less than 29 percent from the three.
Senior center Cameron Krutwig led Loyola-Chicago with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Krutwig was a member of the 2018 team when the Ramblers made their tournament run all the way to the Final Four against Michigan.
With both teams coming off of upsets, Loyola Chicago will face Oregon State.
No. 12 Oregon State Tops No. 4 Oklahoma State
Oregon State got the best of Oklahoma State in their 80-70 victory.
Oregon State is no stranger to upsets. They knocked off No. 5 Tennessee in the first round of the tournament and followed up their win over Oklahoma State.
The Beavers will take on Loyola Chicago in the Sweet Sixteen.
Syracuse Upsets West Virginia
The Syracuse Orange got the 75-72 upset over West Virginia behind the 25 points of Buddy Boeheim.
In a back and forth game, the key for Syracuse was field goals. The Orange found a way to make buckets while West Virginia struggled. However, what kept West Virginia in the game was their defensive rebounding.
West Virginia managed to erase a Syracuse 14 point lead, but ultimately the comeback fell short.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim commented on the play of his son, Buddy Boeheim, and the resilience he thought his team showed.
Sweet Sixteen Matchups
No. 4 Florida State v. No. 1 Michigan | March 28 | 5:00 p.m. | CBS
No. 11 UCLA v. No. 2 Alabama | March 28 | 7:15 p.m. | TBS
No. 7 Oregon v. No. 6 USC | March 27 | 2:40 p.m. | CBS
No. 5 Creighton v. No. 1 Gonzaga | March 28 | 2:10 p.m. | CBS
No. 5 Villanova v. No. 1 Baylor | March 27 | 5:15 p.m. | CBS
No. 15 Oral Roberts v. No. 3 Arkansas | March 27 | 7:25 p.m. | TBS
No. 11 Syracuse v. No. 2 Houston | March 27 | 9:55 p.m. | TBS
No. 12 Oregon State v. No. 8 Loyola Chicago | March 28 | 9:45 p.m. | TBS