A truly mad weekend

March 22, 2005, midnight | By Adith Sekaran | 15 years, 10 months ago

Tournament brackets in chaos

This year's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's basketball tournament has been nothing less than mad. In the first two rounds several talented and proven teams ranked in the top four lost to weaker squads. These upsets have put most of the bracket pools in this country in mayhem.

Of the top sixteen teams remaining, none of the four number one seeds have been upset yet. However, the rest of the success rate of other high seeds is simply downhill from here. The number two seeds lost two perennial powerhouses Wake Forest (Wake) and the Connecticut (UCONN) Huskies.

Wake lost an epic double overtime game to the number seven seed West Virginia Mountaineers. This was one of the best games of the tournament because of the nail biting action of 50 minutes of basketball. Wake, as expected, dominated West Virginia for most of the game. The Demon Deacons of Wake led by 13 after 20 minutes of basketball, which was supposed to be the halfway point. However, second half heroics by the Mountaineers gradually hacked down this lead to give them the advantage.

The Mountaineers slipped in the final minutes of regulation to allow Wake to shoot a three to tie the game and force it into its first overtime. Both teams had several of their players in foul trouble and were searching for some player to elevate their game.

In the two overtimes, West Virginia was led by a possessed player in Mike Gansey. Gansey outplayed arguably the best point guard in the nation in Wake Forest's Chris Paul, who also stepped up in the overtimes. The difference for the Demon Deacons was the fact that Paul fouled out after playing just over two minutes in the second overtime. Both Gansey and Paul scored ten points in the first overtime, but the Mountaineers star added nine more in the second overtime.

Connecticut also lost to North Carolina State, a supposed bubble team before the start of the tournament. The Huskies were the defending champions but lost several of their starters to the National Basketball Association (NBA). Their team this year was extremely young and inexperienced but still earned a number two seed.

Their coach Jim Calhoun has had luck managing to get all the big time recruits to come to Connecticut. Last year, Calhoun secured one of the most highly touted recruits in the 6' 9" forward Rudy Gay. The Huskies also have 6' 11" sophomore forward Charlie Villanueva, an offensive monster but a liability on the defensive end.

None of these extremely talented but inexperienced players could counteract North Carolina State's senior Julius Hodge. Hodge is the reason UConn lost this game because he attacked them every way he could, scoring 17 points, three of those during the last seconds to give his team the upset.

Only one number three seed remains of Kansas, Gonzaga and Oklahoma. Kansas and Gonzaga lost in the final seconds to Bucknell and Texas Tech, respectively. Bobby Knight's Red Raiders outplayed the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second half and took the final lead with one minute left. The Bucknell Bison were fortunate enough to make a hook shot with ten seconds remaining. The only third seed that did not lose in the last minute was Oklahoma. The Sooners of Oklahoma were outplayed by the Utes of Utah.

The Syracuse Orange, one of my picks to advance far, lost in the first round to the 13 seed Vermont. The Orange lost another close game to Vermont in overtime. Twice, Syracuse's sharpshooter Gerry McNamara had chances to hit his long three pointer but missed causing the early round exit for him and his team.

Despite all of these upsets, the surprise team of March Madness this year is the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Panthers. The Panthers have pulled not one, but two improbable upsets through the first two rounds of the tournament. They are the lowest seed of the 16 remaining teams at number 12.

They began their surprising run of success by beating number five seed Alabama Crimson Tide. Most of the country looked as this victory as a fluke and did not pay much attention to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. The Panthers quietly marched forward to face Boston College (BC), a team that won its first 19 games. Since their start, the Eagles of BC have faltered, finishing 25-5, and were not a match for the Panthers.

With all these upsets, no one knows what to expect through the final four rounds besides excitement and buzzer beaters. After all it is the month of madness.

Tags: print

Adith Sekaran. Adith Sekaran is finally a senior at Blair. Adith is a man who is a big time sports fan and can spend any day to its' entirety watching sports or ESPN. Football season is his favorite, which he spends cheering on his ‘Skins to no … More »

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