By: Chris Ruple
There have been a number of lower seeds knocking off higher seeds in the tournament so far. Here’s a rundown of the first round upsets and a couple teams that may be this years Cinderella.
14 Ohio defeats 3 Georgetown
Out of all the first round upsets, this was probably the most surprising. Not many people had Ohio beating Georgetown in their bracket. They did it just like most teams that have success in the tournament do, solid guard play. Ohio standout guard Armon Basset put up 32 on the Hoyas and led the way to this first round upset. The Bobcats couldn’t even manage a winning record in conference play but were able to knock off the Hoyas. Ohio will clash with Tennessee in the second round and while we shouldn’t count them out yet, it would be a stretch to say the Bobcats will defeat anyone besides the inconsistent Hoyas.
13 Murray State defeats 4 Vanderbilt
One of the more popular upset picks of the tournament lived up to the hype. Impressive guard play from Issac Miles, BJ Jenkins, and big time six man Issiah Cannon helped the Racers pull the upset. Danero Thomas’ buzzer beater for the win provided the best finish to a game thus far. Don’t be surprised if this Murray State team takes their next game against Butler and makes it to the Sweet 16.
7 BYU defeats 10 Florida
While their first victory wasn’t an upset, BYU may have a couple of upset victories in their future. It is very possible that one of the 2 seeds will go down at the hands of a 7-10 team in the second round. Florida knew guard Jimmer Fredette would be key to a Cougar victory, yet they couldn’t stop him. Fredette dropped 37 on the Gators, one of the most impressive performances of the first round, while wing man Michael Lloyd Jr. was 7 for 10 from the field and 26 points. BYU looked very good in their first tournament win since 1992. If they can get past Kansas State in the second round and Fredette stays hot, they could be a surprise Final Four team.
12 Cornell defeats 5 Temple
This was another popular upset and Cornell lived up to the expectations defeating the Owls 78-65. The Big Red lead most of the game thanks to big man Jeff Foote who went for 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Ivy League squad tallied its first NCAA tournament victory and will look to gain their second against the Wisconsin Badgers. This will be an interesting match up and don’t be surprised to see the Big Red challenging Kentucky for a spot in the Elite 8.
11 Washington defeats 6 Marquette
The Big East woes continued in San Jose as the Huskies defeated the Golden Eagles 80-78. The Huskies entered the Pac-10 tournament needing to make some noise and led by star forward Quincy Pondexter they swept the competition and won the tournament. Pondexter would also makes some noise in the Big Dance by putting up 18 against the Golden Eagles, including banking in a layup with 1.7 seconds left and claiming a berth in the second round. The rolling Huskies will face New Mexico in the second round, a very winnable game as the Lobos struggled in their opening round matchup against Montana.
10 Missouri defeats 7 Clemson
The battle of the Tigers ended with the boys from Missou advancing to the second round. With both teams running high press defenses, it appeared at first that Clemson’s sharpshooters might come out on top. Missouri struggled from the field in the first half but stuck around and were able to pull away in the second half. The Tigers “Fastest 40 minutes in Basketball” pressure defense may be the recipe for success to take down the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second round.
11 Old Dominion defeats 6 Notre Dame
Not too many people thought the Monarchs would take down the Irish but a strong defensive effort help them do just that. Old Dominion held Notre Dame to 35% from the field and forward Frank Hassel accounted for 21 of the Monarchs 51 points. Carelton Scott had a chance to send the game into overtime for Notre Dame with a three pointer but instead the ball was tipped in for two and the Monarchs got the win. The Monarchs aren’t new to first round upsets, they pulled one of the biggest in tournament history in 1995 as they took down 3 Villanova as a 14 seed in a triple overtime thriller. The upset minded Monarchs will face the Baylor Bears in the second round with a chance to reach their first ever Sweet 16.
10 St Mary’s defeats 7 Richmond
The “Boys from Down Under” defeated the Spiders 80-71. The Gael’s roster contains 5 players from Australia but it was California native Omar Samhan who led the way for the Gaels with 29 points and 12 rebounds. The Gaels looked very good in their first round match shooting a cool 49% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. With 2 seed Villanova struggling against Robert Morris in the first round, don’t be surprised to see the Gaels make the Sweet 16.
This year’s field is full of lower seeded teams that are capable of making deep runs and a couple higher seeded teams that are very venerable to upsets. This year truly shows no one really has a good method to their madness when filling out their bracket in March.