UMBC does the unthinkable in NCAA upset for the ages
It took until the 136th all-time attempt, but it finally happened. A No. 16 seed finally defeated a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. We will never again live in a world where a No. 16 seed has never defeated a No. 1 seed. Never. Just let that sink in.
Hours after the No. 16 Penn Quakers gave the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks a tough game, a game Kansas still won by 16 points, I remember having a discussion during which someone said they felt a No. 16 would defeat a No. 1 seed within the next 20 years.
Then he upped it to 40 years.
So I upped it to never.
Not even 24 hours later, the wait is finally over. The No. 16 UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County -- for those who have never heard of it until today) Retrievers not only knocked off but destroyed the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers, the best team in the best conference that entered the tournament with the No. 1 overall seed.
The final score of the Round of 64 game was 74-54.
Virginia entered the tournament with a nation-best 31-2 record, and they went an astonishing 17-1 in the Atlanta Coast Conference, a whole four games above the second place Duke Blue Devils.
They entered the tournament on an eight-game winning streak, which included three wins in the ACC tournament en route to winning the conference tournament championship.
Even had they lost a game in the ACC tournament, there was never a doubt that they would be the No. 1 overall seed in this year's tournament.
The Cavaliers' only losses throughout the season were a December non-conference road loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers and a February ACC home loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies. They lost the first game by a score of 68-61, and they lost the second game in overtime by a score of 61-60.
Virginia entered the tournament as the best defensive team in the country, as they allowed an average of only 53.4 points per game throughout the season, which is even more impressive given the fact that they play in the ACC.
The Retrievers put up 53 points on the Cavaliers in the second half of Friday night's game alone.
In doing so, they became the first team to score more than 70 points against Virginia all season long. In fact, Virginia had not allowed more than 70 points in a game since their opening round NCAA men's basketball tournament matchup last year against the UNC Wilmington Seahawks, a game they won by a score of 76-71.
Finally, 35 games later, a team scored more than 70 points against Virginia, and they did so in a historic game for the ages that will never be forgotten.
UMBC only got into the tournament thanks to a late three-point shot by Jairus Lyles in the America East conference championship game against the Vermont Catamounts.
The Retrievers entered the NCAA men's basketball tournament with a record of 24-10. Given the fact that they played in a mid-major conference, the fact that they had 10 losses and won their conference tournament in upset fashion did not give many people much hope for them.
The fact that No. 16 seeds had an 0-132 record against No. 1 seeds coming into this season also probably didn't help much.
Plus, just a few weeks ago, the Retrievers lost by 44 points to the Albany Great Danes, who finished in fourth place in the America East conference with a 22-10 record.
Now, they have come from seemingly nowhere to defeat the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers by 20 in what is now the biggest upset in NCAA men's basketball tournament history.
The UMBC Retrievers are set to take on the No. 9 seed Kansas State Wildcats, who took down the No. 8 seed Creighton Bluejays in the Round of 64, on Sunday at 7:45 pm ET in the Round of 32. That game is set to be broadcast live on TruTV.
How long will their Cinderella run last?