Best First Round ever.
Why do we love the First Round so much?
The upsets. The buzzer beaters. The backstories on people and places you never heard of.
This year's First Round had it all.
We should have known we were in for something special when the very first game went to overtime.
A Sixteen beats a One for the first time ever. Not just any One, but the #1 One.
And they didn't just beat them on a prayer shot or a stupid error or a bad ref call. They dominated them. This didin't look like one of those once-in-a-lifetime-out-of-their-minds games where if they played it 1000 more times, UMBC would lose big 999 times. They looked like they could do it again.
Overshadowed by that was 13 Buffalo beating 4 Arizona which would have been the big upset story any other year. Or 13 Marshall over 4 Wichita State. And don't forget 11 Darlings-for-a-day Loyola Chicago over 6 Miami. It got to the point where we didn't even bother paying attention to Play-in 11 Syracuse over 6 TCU by the time it happened.
The Buzzer Beaters:
Loyola Chicago gave us a two-fer with a classic Big Dance buzzer beater, that also gave them the big upset over Miami. SDSU just misses a last second shot that would have given them the surprise unlikely win over a Houston team that had them under their thumb all game.
The whole world is Googling UMBC this morning. Quick, go to Google and just type "U". You will never see that again.
I live in Maryland and know several people that go or went to UMBC. I didn't even know they had a basketball team. I just thought it was a branch commuter campus of Univ. of Maryland.
I also didn't know that Chesapeake Bay Retrievers or the America East Conference were a thing.
Other fun backstories: We got to meet the 98 year old nun that is the inspirational leader of Loyola Chicago and made me feel immediately guilty for not picking them in my bracket to upset Miami. She also knows her stuff.
Finally, a hidden backstory is the impending brawl between Marshall and WVU for State Champs of West Virginia. Both programs have (legitimate) chips on their shoulders, so that game should get, uh, chippy.
First Round 2018, I sing your praises.
Let's keep it going!