Andrew Dawson, Staff Writer
March Madness is underway and is shaping up to be one of the best NCAA tournaments in recent memory based on the number of upsets. March Madness was canceled last year due to COVID-19 but the long wait is over and many teams are living up to the hype. So far, we have seen several major upsets that have changed the complexion of the tournament. Currently, there are zero perfect brackets remaining for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, according to NCAA.com, which counted over 20 million individual brackets that were played.
One of the biggest upsets in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was when the 15-seed Oral Roberts Golden Eagles defeated the 2-seed Ohio State Buckeyes 75-72 in the first round. This was a shock to many because the Buckeyes were a favorite to win the tournament. The Golden Eagles were led by starting forward Kevin Obanor who scored 30 points and had 11 rebounds in 45 total minutes. Max Abmas also played a great game scoring 29 points and having 5 rebounds with 3 assists. The Golden Eagles outscored the Buckeyes in the first half 36-33. However, Ohio State didn’t shy away from the challenge. They answered back in the second half, outscoring the Golden Eagles 31-28, and tying the game at the end of regulation. Then, Oral Roberts won the game in overtime and proved they belonged in the tournament.
The 14-seed Abilene Christian Wildcats upset the 3-seed Texas Longhorns 53-52 in a low- scoring affair. The Wildcats were able to pull off the surprising upset because of their defense. They had 11 total steals and held the Longhorns to only shooting 35 percent on three-point shots. The Longhorns struggled on offense because of the Wildcat’s dominant defense, causing them to have 23 total turnovers. The Longhorns untimely turnovers late in the second half was the major difference in deciding the outcome of this game. These turnovers gave the Wildcats more opportunities to score and take the lead. The turning point in the game was the final sequence in the second half. The Longhorns converted a three-point shot with seconds to spare but Abilene Christian answered back by knocking down two free throws. This is the Abilene Christian Wildcats first-ever win in the NCAA tournament and their college’s biggest win in school history.
The most impressive team so far is the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are the 1-seed in the West Coast Conference and they have lived up to the hype. Gonzaga has won all three of their games so far and looks to be the favorites to win the tournament. They dismantled Norfolk State 98-55 and followed it up by beating the 8-seed Oklahoma Sooners 87-71. In the Sweet 16, Gonzaga faced the 5-seed Creighton Bluejays and won 83-65. The Bulldogs success is mainly because of their star power forward Drew Timme. Timme is averaging 7 rebounds and 23 points a game in the tournament. Gonzaga’s next game will be in the Final Four against the 11-seed UCLA Bruins, and it will be interesting to see if the Bruins can slow down their impressive run.
While March Madness is almost over, there is still great basketball left to be played. The Final Four will be played on Apr. 4 with some big-name teams left in the bracket like the Baylor Bears and the Houston Cougars. The championship game will be held on April. 5. So, be sure to tune in and see who will be crowned the next NCAA March Madness Champions.