Any underdogs in March Madness have a chance to move on?

After the first weekend of March Madness, there are, as always, several underdogs that have upset the apple cart.  That is the beauty of the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament.  As an underdog, your team only has to play great for one game, 40 minutes, and it’s because of this that upsets occur every year in this tournament.  Your team can also play a higher seed, and if they are close at the end, can pull off an upset in the final few seconds.  This also tends to happen each year.  However, do any of the remaining underdogs this year really have a chance to make it to the Final Four

In the Southwest Region, there were several upsets throughout the second and third round:  Underdogs remaining are Richmond, VCU, and Florida State  

The #12 seed Richmond Spiders (28-7) beat #5 seed Vanderbilt (23-11) 69-66.  In the final 6:25, Vanderbilt missed 5 of 9 free throws, and the Commodores Rod Odom missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 2 seconds left .  The #13 seed Morehead State (25-9) upset #4 seed Louisville (25-10) 62-61.  Demonte Harper of Morehead State hit a 3-point jumper with 7 seconds left in the game to give the Eagles a one point lead.  Louisville could not score in the final 7 seconds and were out of the tournament.  Unfortunately Richmond had to play Morehead State two days later in the third round of the tournament.  One underdog would not continue in the tournament, and it ended up being Morehead State.  Richmond beat them 65-48 to make it to the Sweet 16.  Richmond will now have to get through#1 seed Kansas (34-2) in order to move on to the Elite Eight.

Number 11 seed VCU (25-11), who had to win a play-in game Tuesday against USC, beat #6 seed Georgetown (21-11) 74-56.  This one wasn’t close as VCU ended the first half with a 5-0 run and began the second half with a 5-0 run, and took a 40-24 lead.  VCU went on to beat #3 seed Purdue (26-7) in the third round 94-76.  After getting down 23-24, VCU made a 13-0 run in the first half and never looked back.  Florida State (23-10) beat #7 seed Texas A&M (24-9) 57-50.  Florida State was down 23-26 at half, but finished strong.  They went on to beat #2 seed Notre Dame (27-7) 71-57, in a game that was over when the second half started.  VCU, as a #11 seed, will need to beat #10 seed Florida State in order to reach the Elite 8.  This game will eliminate another underdog from making it to the Final Four.

In the Southeast Region, there were just a couple of upsets in the second and third round:  The only underdog remaining is Butler  

There was only one upset in the second round, as #11 seed Gonzaga (25-10) beat #6 seed St. John’s (21-12) 86-71.  The Bulldogs went on a 19-4 run after being down early 5-10, and St. John’s could never catch up.  Unfortunately, Gonzaga lost in the next round to #3 seed BYU (32-4) 89-67.  The only other upset in this region was #8 Butler (25-9) beating #1 Pittsburgh (28-6) 71-70 in a controversial ending.  After barely getting by #9 seed Old Dominion 60-58 in round two, Butler edged out Pittsburgh when Nasir Robinson fouled Matt Howard on a defensive rebound after Gilbert Brown missed his second free throw with 1 second remaining.  The score was tied at the time, and Butler’s Howard made his first of two free throws giving them the one point win.  Butler will need to beat #4 seed Wisconsin (24-8) to get to the Elite Eight.

In the East Region, there was only one upset in the second and third round:  The only underdog remaining is Marquette

Marquette is the #11 seed (21-14), and they started their March Madness run by defeating #6 seed Xavier (24-8) 66-55.  Marquette led the game from start to finish.  They followed up by beating #3 seed Syracuse (27-8) 66-62.  This game was back and forth, with Syracuse leading most of the game.  Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette made a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to pull ahead, and the Golden Eagles sank their last four free throws for the win.  They take on #2 seed North Carolina (28-7) for a shot at the Elite 8.

In the West Region, there was also only one upset, and a minor one at that:  The only underdog remaining is Arizona

The #5 seed Arizona Wildcats (28-7) barely beat #12 seed Memphis (25-10) 77-75 to advance to the third round.  Arizona got off to a slow start and the teams traded the lead back and forth several times in the second half.  Arizona’s Derrick Williams blocked a lay-up by Wesley Witherspoon to prevent the game from going into overtime.  In round three, Derrick Williams made a last second 3-point play to give the Wildcats the win 70-69 over #4 seed Texas (28-8).  Arizona led at half 36-25, and led most of the second half, but with 14 seconds left, Texas took a timeout with possession and a two point lead 69-67.  The game was all but over until Cory Joseph of Texas turned the ball over and Derrick Williams scored and was fouled with 9 seconds left.  The Longhorns J’Covan Brown missed a lay-up with 1 second remaining to give Arizona the win.  Arizona will have to beat #1 seed Duke (32-4) in order to survive in the tournament, and make it to the Elite Eight.

Obviously Arizona is not much of an underdog as a #5 seed, but how good are their chances when they are taking on Duke?  Marquette as a #11 seed probably doesn’t have much of a chance against #2 seed North Carolina, but they have already beaten a #6 and #3 seed in this tournament, and momentum is on their side.  Richmond is the lowest seed remaining at #12, and they are taking on #1 seed Kansas.  Kansas has had two very easy wins, and has a #12 seed ever beaten a #1?  The Butler bulldogs, a middle of the road #8 seed, have already beaten top seeded Pittsburgh.  Can they continue their run, or will they be overwhelmed by what they already accomplished and fall short to #4 Wisconsin?  How about #11 VCU taking on #10 Florida State for a chance to get to the Elite Eight?  One of these underdogs obviously has the best chance to make it to the next round, and a possible matchup with #12 Richmond to make it to the Final Four.  That’s the beauty of the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament.  There are always underdogs that upset top seeded teams because of the format, and there is nothing else like it.

~ by Troy Erickson Realtor on March 24, 2011.

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