The Greatest March Ever?

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There were once 13 million perfect brackets on ESPN before the tournament began. Now, not a single one of them survived the first round. Then again, some estimate the odds of picking a perfect bracket can be as low as 1 in 9.2 quintillion. So, that shouldn’t shock anyone right? What has been shocking involves these incredible comebacks and upsets that nobody – and I mean nobody – saw coming.

The most popular bracket buster upset currently in the tournament involves the downfall of Michigan State at the hands of Middle Tennessee. ESPN approximated that 2.9 million people picked Michigan State to win the national championship; they didn’t even win the first game. Middle Tennessee, as a 15 seed, knocked down 11 of their 19 three point attempts and finished the game with a 9 point lead. Another shocking fact, only 2.2 % predicted arguably the most shocking upset since Duke vs. Mercer.

The upset performed by Middle Tennessee may be the talk of this year’s NCAA tournament, but one of the most remarkable comebacks in the tournament’s history occurred in the Round of 32. The score was 69 – 57 Northern Iowa leading Texas A&M with 44 seconds remaining in regulation. All Northern Iowa had to do was play good defense, knock down free throws, and they advance to the Sweet 16. However, many – I will repeat for emphasis – MANY bad things occurred and Texas A&M tied the game with 3 seconds left. Northern Iowa turned it over, missed free throws, and allowed easy buckets for the Aggies to pull out the most incredible comeback potentially in NCAA history. The game did go to Double OT when the Aggies would prevail, but the intensity and momentum in this game was unreal. It was comparable to that of an NBA Finals game.

Meanwhile, there have been a total of three buzzer beaters in this tournament, tied for the most in the tournament’s history. The craziest buzzer beater happened ironically between Northern Iowa and Texas. Senior Paul Jesperson hits a contested half-court shot to upset 6 seed Texas and send the longhorns packing. The second buzzer beater came Iowa’s Adam Woodbury when he tipped in the game-winning field goal off a rebound against Temple. The final one came from 7 seed Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig when he hoisted a fading, out of bounds three point shot to take the lead against 2 seed Xavier. The only thing greater than these buzzer beaters may have been the reactions. For note, here is former Badger Frank Kaminsky’s reaction to his former team’s victory.

So many surprises have already taken place this tourney, but expect even more as no team is safe from these incredible upsets and miracles in the making of the greatest March in NCAA history.

Now, bring on the Sweet Sixteen.