First two rounds of March Madness filled with upsets

Once again, March Madness is living up to its name as it offered one of the craziest weekends in its history leading up to the Sweet 16 for the Men’s 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Every year it gets wilder. 

It would be shocking if you had not heard yet, but neighboring college, No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), shocked No. 1 seed Purdue, beating them 63-58. It was just the second time that a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 seed in the history of the tournament (UMBC was the first 16-seed to beat a one-seed (Virginia, 2018)). FDU looked like they might continue their hot-streak, but they did end up falling in the second round to No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic, 78-70. 

Then, another New Jersey school handed out an upset, as No. 15 seed Princeton defeated No. 2 seed Arizona. This was

New Jersey’s own FDU pulled off a historic upset against No. 1 ranked Purdue University. Photo courtesy of @FDUKnightsMBB, Twitter

Princeton’s first tournament win since 1998 and they became the first Ivy League team to win in the tournament since 2016. The Tigers’ luck continued in the Round of 32 as they will be moving onto the Sweet 16 after beating No. 7 seed Missouri, 78-63. 

As if FDU and Princeton did not bust enough brackets, No. 13 seed Furman handed No. 4 seed Virginia a stunning loss, 68-67. The Cavs were up with nine seconds left, but when fifth-year guard Kihei Clark got caught trapped and turnovered the ball to Furman’s Garrett Hien who would then hit a three pointer, it was over. Similar to FDU, Furman’s luck ran out in the second round as they fell to No. 5 seed San Diego State, 75-52. 

The Sweet 16 will also be “blue blood free.” No Duke. No Kentucky. No Kansas. No North Carolina. It will be only the second men’s Sweet 16 since 1980 without one of them, and it could prove to be beneficial to college basketball. 

While North Carolina did not even make the tournament, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky were all kicked out in the Round of 32. No. 4 seed Tennessee snapped No. 5 seed Duke’s 11-game win streak, No. 8 seed Arkansas held on late to stun defending-champion No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 6 seed Kentucky could not hold on to beat No. 3 seed Kansas State. 

Although not a Blue Blood by definition, the still dominant program of Michigan State stayed alive, making it back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019. The No. 7 seed Spartans had to defeat No. 10 seed Southern California and No. 2 seed Marquette to advance. Both games came down to the final seconds, and were done so in typical Izzo Effect fashion of screaming and breaking clipboards on the sidelines. 

Other teams are advancing, but injuries are plaguing them. No. 2 seed UCLA shook off a huge No. 7 seed Northwestern rally that erased a 13-point deficit in the second half for a 68-63 victory in the second round, but UCLA’s David Singleton went down with a scary ankle injury. As for No. 1 seed Alabama, they are still dancing, but key player Brandon Miller is taking it slow with a groin injury. 

Besides Alabama, the only other No. 1 seed remaining is Houston, who at this point has cruised into the Sweet 16 and will face off against No. 5 seed Miami. No. 4 seed UConn, No. 3 seed Gonzaga, No. 2 seed Texas and No. 3 seed Xavier will rely on experience and their majority of veteran players to help them advance out of the Sweet 16. 

After how this past week went, there is zero reason to suggest why there will not be more crazy moments to come out of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. All that is guaranteed is the start to the madness will resume on Thursday, March 23 with the first match-up between No. 3 seed Kansas State and No. 7 seed Michigan State at 6:30 p.m.

Featured photo courtesy of @FDUKinghts, Twitter