Year of the Cinderella
This March is officially the maddest in recent memory.
Monday's men's tournament featured two second-round upsets of high seeds, as Oregon defeated Iowa and USC blew the doors off of Kansas. After Sunday’s surprises, we’re left with what is officially the most Cinderella-laden Sweet 16 in NCAA tournament history.
The remaining field looks like this: three No. 1 seeds, two No. 2 seeds, a No. 3 seed, a No. 4 seed, two No. 5 seeds, a No. 6, a No. 7, a No. 8, two No. 11 seeds, a No. 12 and a No. 15. Even though Oral Roberts is the only remaining double-digit seed not from a power conference, there’s still a robust collection of fun underdogs to pull for.
According to ESPN’s John Gasaway, this year’s Sweet 16 features the lowest average seed of any year since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. It beats out the 1986 tournament, in which No. 14 seed Cleveland State and No. 12 seed DePaul made the Sweet 16. (Both of those teams lost in the Sweet 16, but No. 11 seed LSU made the Elite Eight.)
This year’s Sweet 16 is noteworthy for another reason: It’s the first time in the history of the 64-team men's tournament that Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina have all missed out on the Sweet 16.
It’s a funny coincidence that, as Gasaway points out, this off-the-wall tournament immediately follows the one that featured the chalkiest Sweet 16. In 2019, all of the No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds advanced past the first weekend. The so-called “Cinderellas” in the regional semis were No. 5 seed Auburn and No. 12 seed Oregon.
Nobody could have predicted that this exact collection of teams would be the ones left standing, but the difficult circumstances of this season made it seem like we were destined for a tournament full of surprises. It wouldn’t be a shock if one or two double-digit seeds made it all the way to the Final Four.
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Around the sports world
The Rockets beat the Raptors behind a triple double from John Wall to snap their 20-game losing streak. ... No. 13 seeds were 9–104 in women’s tournament history until Wright State beat Arkansas. ... Trevor Bauer is known as an abrasive personality but his teammates are cool with him. ... An Olympic surfing hopeful from El Salvador was struck by lightning and killed while training. ... Jared Goff says Michael Brockers apologized to him for his “level up” comments. ... Star striker Eric Choupo-Moting won’t play in the Cameroonian national team’s upcoming games because of an email mixup. ... A man claims he lived for three years in an apartment in an abandoned concession stand at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. ... Former wide receiver Dan Plater, who never played an NFL game but has an interesting backstory nonetheless, died at age 60.
This missed backcourt violation in the final seconds could have robbed No. 15 seed Troy of an opportunity to upset Texas A&M
USC absolutely whooped Kansas
Tough sequence for this guy
Spurs players paid tribute to some women’s basketball legends with their pregame outfits
Not helping, Mark!
Joe Burrow was in Indy to cheer on his hometown Ohio Bobcats, not LSU
Rays prospect Brent Honeywell pitched in a game for the first time since 2017
New trailer for MLB The Show 21 (which is finally coming to Xbox!)
Here’s what your cloth face mask looks like under a microscope. ... The singer Meat Loaf is working on a dating show called I’d Do Anything For Love… But I Won’t Do That. ... Jamie Foxx is going to play Mike Tyson in a mini series.
The volcanic eruption in Iceland looks pretty spectacular ...
... and guys are cooking hot dogs in the lava
A walrus previously spotted in Ireland
A good song
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