It's the first time in history that all four top seeds from a region lost on the opening weekend.
Friday night's shocking upset came in the Cavaliers' first game in the tournament, so the "format" argument doesn't really come into play.
The school will attempt to continue the dream run Sunday evening against Kansas State. From there, K-State's offense began to find its rhythm. It was an underwhelming game, especially considering it was an #8 seed vs. #9 seed.
Maura buried two threes early in the second half, but, more impressively, he stayed in the game after he took a charge that would have sent most guys his size to the bench. After all, the second game was more of a formality than a contest. But it all ended Sunday after a Retrievers squad that made more than 50 percent of its 3-pointers against a Virginia team that entered the game with a defense ranked first in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom.com, encountered a lengthy drought in the second half against K-State.
Although their 2018 NCAA Tournament did not end with them cutting down the nets at the Final Four in San Antonio, it did place them firmly into the college basketball history books and in the memory of every sports junkie in America. UMBC was seen as a punchline to everyone, myself included.
The Wildcats led 38-33 with seven minutes to play but couldn't put away the Retrievers (25-11).
A Tony Bennett timeout couldn't stop the bleeding, as Lyles hit two more 3's and Sherburne hit one more to extend UMBC's lead to 14 with about 15 minutes left.
Except the people seated in Section 113.
"They play with passion, they play with heart, they play together", coach Ryan Odom said. They firmly believed the team they watched and supported all season was capable of winning.
Kansas State (8) will not only be facing the nation's new darling riding a huge high, but they'll be doing so without star forward Dean Wade.
As the minutes waned, belief succumbed to surrealness.
To try and explain how UMBC won would be an exercise in futility. "But now it's time to say goodbye to the game I love". The Retrievers dominated Virginia. "And then Xavier made some plays down the stretch". Not only are Brunson and Carter both All-Americans this season, but they're also former AAU teammates who are very familiar with each other's games.
The Tar Heels were a very different team than last year's title victor, namely in the way they leaned on a small-ball lineup. West Virginia plays Villanova in the East semifinals, and Purdue and Tech meet in the other game. Then our coaches told us to go upstairs and get some rest.
"We felt like our only chance was to pressure their guards". The Retrievers also shot 9-for-18 from the free throw line. Their next possession, UMBC made a three pointer and established a six point advantage. They'll still have to grind out victories. After that, coaches encouraged us to go back to the room and I couldn't sleep. "They knew it. Fully believed, committed to it, and then...did it". The Orange became the first No. 2 seed to lose to a 15th seed in the NCAAs, falling to Richmond in 1991.