UNITED STATES—Man, this has to be one of the most frustrating NCAA Tournaments that I have seen in years. I cannot recall seeing as many upsets, stunning moments and downright busted brackets in previous history. Something had to be in the air in 2018 because if you told me several of the top rated teams in the country would be bounced from the tourney during the first round/second round I would have said you’re joking.
However, it was no laughing matter. The first upset was #1 seed Virginia being bounced by UMBC, and it was all everyone talked about Friday night. However, that was just the beginning of shocking moments throughout the course of the weekend. My Michigan State Spartans lost by 2 points (2 freaking points) to Syracuse. Ugh, that totally destroyed the rest of my weekend because I had them going super far in the tourney. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that they had home court advantage. I mean they were playing in Detroit, which was less than an hour from campus. If having a crowd predominantly dressed in green and white can’t help you win a game I don’t know what the hell will.
Let’s continue the frustration because Buffalo bounced #4 seed Arizona in the first round. I’m literally scratching my head because the underdogs are indeed proving to be a force to reckon with this year. Loyola-Chi is proving a team to not be messed with because they took out Tennessee, America, and that is just the beginning because Nevada took out Cincinnati to advance to the Sweet 16.
Another #1 seed in Xavier saw their dreams crushed as Florida State managed to edge out a win, and they will now face off against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Only two #1 seeds remain in the tournament: Kansas and Villanova. And as I said before I think Villanova is a lock to make it to the Final Four, but maybe I should be careful not to jinx that.
I was hoping to see a UNC and MSU rematch for the final, but that’s not happening in 2018, because the #2 seeded Tar Heels were defeated by Texas A&M, which means Michigan will face them in the Sweet 16. I thought Michigan would have a difficult time in the West region, but now, I’m rooting from my arch rival to go all the way. I mean did you see that shot by Jordan Poole at the buzzer, amazing!
That game looked all but over for the Wolverines, and with the snap of a finger they have been reinvigorated and the entire Big 10 is crossing their fingers to make it all the way to the Final Four. Duke is still in the race and it looks like Syracuse will indeed have to bring its A-game to defeat a dominant opponent.
So the teams making the Sweet 16 include: Kansas St., Kentucky, Loyola-Chi, Nevada, Villanova, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Purdue, Florida St., Gonzaga, Kansas, Clemson, Michigan, Texas A&M, Syracuse and Duke. So when it comes to making my Final Four predictions I see Michigan, Duke, Kentucky and Villanova being the lucky ones. I can see Duke losing to Kansas, but my gut tells me Duke is going to win that game. Michigan just gives off vibes of the underdog that really isn’t an underdog to begin with and will go further than people expect.
And if I had to be completely honest, with the upsets we saw the first week, I can easily see Villanova and Kentucky not making it as far as I’d hope considering their viability on the court. For many Americans, our brackets might be busted and our favs are no longer in the running, but that doesn’t mean you can’t root for another team or another underdog that many never expected to get this far, but they have proven otherwise so far in the NCAA Tournament.
Written By Kelsey Thomas