Brackets busted in the first weekend of March Madness

With the round of 32 coming to a close late Sunday night, 16 teams are one step closer to cutting down the nets in Houston this year. Over the course of the past week, we have witnessed buzzer-beating upsets, double digit comebacks and yet another first round exit for a top-seeded Purdue. 

16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson University  was the most notable upset, beating 1-seed Purdue 63-58 late Friday night. With this win, FDU pulled off one of the biggest upsets in March Madness history, becoming the second 16 seed to ever beat a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. To add to the glory of their victory, FDU was recorded as the shortest team on average in the tournament and took down Purdue’s seven-foot-four and player of the year candidate Zach Edey.

15-seed Princeton knocking off 2-seed Arizona was another bracket buster for many. Princeton, not typically known as an annual tournament team, took down Arizona on Thursday night, 59-55. Before the start of the tournament, nobody saw Princeton as a team who could take it far, but their strong fundamentals and sharp ball movement allowed them to reach the Sweet 16 after beating Missouri in the second round.

Reflecting on the first 48 games of this madness, there are a few in particular that demonstrated true nail-biting finishes. Florida Atlantic University battled against the University of Memphis in a highly-anticipated 8- 9 game, and Nick Boyd’s game-winning layup with five seconds remaining ended Memphis’s season while sending FAU to an unexpected round of 32 matchup against FDU. After ending FDU’s Cinderella run, FAU will now take on the University of Tennessee in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.

Furman University had its first tournament appearance in over 30 years, and in a thrilling game on Thursday afternoon, they ended the University of Virginia’s season with a three-point shot from JP Pegues. Pegue’s buzzer beater came off of a careless UVA turnover, and put the Paladins into the round of 32 with a 68-67 victory. Unfortunately for the Paladins, they met their match in the round of 32 and were sent home after a 75-52 loss to San Diego State University.

Since many of the Sweet 16 matchups are predicted to be close battles, there are a couple individuals who could play a critical role in their teams success. The first being Kansas State’s star point guard, Markquis Nowell. Nowell put up 27 points against Kentucky in their round of 32 matchup, while flashing his playmaking ability with 9 assists. Nowell is one of the smallest players in the entire tournament, standing at 5’8, yet this has not deterred him from success this March. 

Another guard who has been crucial in their team’s success has been Ryan Langborg for the Princeton Tigers. Langborg dropped 22 points against Missouri in their round of 32 game, shooting 47 percent from the field. Langborg and the Tigers hope to prolong their unexpected run as they face off against six-seed Creighton on Friday.

With a plethora of upsets in the first two rounds alone, it will be interesting to see whether the underdogs will continue their success or if the top dogs will be too much for these lower-ranked teams. 

What we do know though, is that most brackets are already officially busted.