Why our brackets got busted
Year after year, millions of Americans turn their collective attention toward March Madness. Brackets are filled out by the utterly clueless and self-proclaimed experts alike, each with the aspiration to fill out the long-coveted perfect bracket.
In recorded history, no perfect bracket has ever been validated. According to a Duke professor, the odds of filling out a perfect bracket are about one in 9.2 quintillion.
Upsets are just one of the reasons that the perfect bracket is so difficult to create. While they’re usually not appreciated by the bracket-makers, upsets make the tournament much more interesting to watch. These have been the most infuriating upsets in the first round.
Liberty burns Mississippi State
The No. 5 Mississippi State Bulldogs fell to the No. 12 Liberty Flames Friday night. The Bulldogs led by 10 with 7:21 left to play, but Liberty crawled back to win.
This was Mississippi State’s first tournament appearance in 10 years. They placed seventh in the SEC and had a 23-11 record. The Flames made the tournament after winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. They also led the conference with a 29-6 record.
This win marked the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament victory. You might think Liberty is a small school, but they actually have a total student population of over 100,000 students when factoring in their robust online program.
Racers leave Marquette in the dust
Even though Marquette was favored to win, all eyes were on NBA draft prospect Ja Morant in this game. The Murray State star recorded a triple-double in the upset victory. Marquette, No. 5 in the West, just couldn’t get a basket. The Golden Eagles shot an abysmal 32 percent from the field compared to the Racers’ 53 percent. That resulted in an 83-64 blowout.
Marquette made the tournament after a strong 24-10 season, but were just 5-4 down the stretch.
Murray State made the tournament after winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. After the Racers’ loss to Florida State Saturday, Morant is expected to be a high lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Badgers forget to duck
Is it a Wisconsin thing? Much like Marquette, Wisconsin couldn’t buy a bucket in this year’s tournament. Oregon’s defense held Wisconsin to 33 percent from the field and 20 percent from the 3-point line.
The game was tied after the first half, but the Badgers were outscored by 18 in the second. With a final score of 72-54, Oregon moved on. Just like Marquette and Mississippi State, Wisconsin was the No. 5 seed in their division.
The Badgers ended the regular season as the fourth ranked team in the Big Ten. Oregon finished their season in fifth in the Pac-12, but won the Pac-12 Tournament. The Ducks have now won 9 straight games.
Wildcats don’t win the dang day
In the biggest upset of the tournament thus far, the No. 4 seed Kansas State Wildcats fell to the No. 13 seed UC Irvine Anteaters.
The two teams looked evenly matched throughout the game, but UC Irvine eventually pulled away. The Wildcats trailed the Anteaters in shooting percentages across the board and would go on to lose 70-64.
Kansas State tied for first in the Big 12 this season and had a 25-9 overall record. The Anteaters trotted their way to a Big West Tournament title. They finished the regular season with an impressive 31-5 record.