Today has been one of the most insane days of college basketball that I can remember. Nine out of the Top 10 teams in the nation played today, and 6 of them lost. #2 Baylor, #3 Kansas, #5 Arizona, #7 West Virginia, #8 Kentucky, and #9 Virginia all fell victim to their underdog counterpart. Baylor, Kansas, and West Virginia all lost at home. Arizona and Kentucky got absolutely embarrassed. Kansas lost for the first time at home since January of 2014 (54 games). Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia, and Virginia all lost to unranked teams. Like what just happened? I can’t remember a more lopsided day of basketball. But ultimately, this is why I love college basketball. Anyone can win on any given day. March Madness is definitely the best time of year, and the scent of March is in the air.
These games sparked a few memories of some of the best basketball upsets I’ve lived through. Three specific teams/games come to mind. First, just last year when #15 Middle Tennessee St. beat #2 Michigan State in the first round. Many people, including myself, believed that MSU got snubbed from the #1 seed and should have gotten it over Oregon. However, that proved not to be as strong of an argument after this game when the Blue Raiders shocked the tourney and provided a classic #15 over #2 upset.
Speaking of #15 over #2 seeds, who remembers when the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast dazzled the world in 2013 with their flyin’ high alley oops and almost Harlem Globetrotter-esque plays? You can bet your bottom dollar that I do! They actually handed it to Georgetown in the 1st round of the tournament and ended up being the only #15 seed ever to reach the Sweet 16. Even more impressive about this legendary run is that this was only FGCU’s 2nd year in Division 1. Are you kidding me?! In their 2nd year they took down one of the perennial powerhouses of college basketball. What a time to be alive (quiet Drake, I’m not quoting you).
Finally, one of my favorite memories was #11 George Mason’s unbelievable run in 2006. The Colonials knocked off #6 Michigan St, #3 North Carolina, #7 Wichita St, then came the monumental upset over #1 UCONN to reach the Final Four. They ended up falling one game short of the National Championship after losing to the eventual National Champion Florida. But this definitely didn’t ruin the memory of watching some passionate, young kids making March Madness that much more mad, and truly living every kid’s dream. The real Cinderella story. Boy was it amazing and memorable.
I live for upsets. I live for the underdog. College basketball is unlike any sport. All the fans packed around the court, dressed up and screaming, playing for the love of the sport instead of the fame and money, and just such so much pride and passion wrapped up into one beautiful sport. And my passion is shared by many, but it’s truly understood on a deeper level in Indiana. In 49 other states, it’s just basketball. And having been born and raised in the other state? I’m not upset about it.