he NCAA tournament got off to a stunning start on Thursday: Harvard, known more for its brains and seeded No. 14, sent No. 3 New Mexico packing with a 62-68 win.
This was Harvard’s first-ever victory in an NCAA tournament. As CBS Sports reports, Harvard stunned “even itself.” The Los Angeles Times reports on reaction to Thursday’s game:
“Last year, the Crimson made the tournament for the first time since 1946, losing to Vanderbilt.
“‘We’re still in disbelief,’ senior guard Christian Webster said. ‘This is as good as it gets right now.’
“Laurent Rivard, a junior guard from Quebec, said it was something he dreamed about as a little kid.
“‘To do it with Harvard on our chest, it can’t get better than this,’ Rivard said.”
We’ll leave you with four other moments you need to know if you want to at least pretend to be keeping up with the tournament:
— ESPN reports: “Since seeding began in 1979, the 46-point victory by 5-seed Virginia Commonwealth over No. 12 Akron was the largest margin of victory ever by any team seeded lower than 2. That record lasted for about an hour. Syracuse, a 4-seed, broke it with a 47-point win over Montana.”
— Butler, a Cinderella team in 2010 and 2011, advanced with a 68-56 win against Bucknell. The big deal here is that five of Butler’s top seven players are NCAA tournament newbies. But as ESPN points out, the Butler character hasn’t changed.
The Indianapolis Star reports that coach Brad Stevens:
“is 12-4 (.750) in NCAA tourney games. The only coaches that began this tournament with higher percentages are Mike Krzyzewski (.767) and Roy Williams (.753).”
— The most devastating defeat goes to No. 14 Davidson, which fell 59-58 to No. 3 Marquette. It was a cruel loss because Davidson was seconds from a tremendous upset.
The New York Times reports:
“When it was over Thursday night, after 39 bracket-busting minutes and one of pure mayhem, the Davidson Wildcats sat on their chairs, as if unwilling — or, perhaps, unable — to move. It was still all too fresh for them, how defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory, another monumental upset in the N.C.A.A. tournament filched with a second to spare.
“‘It was just like, ‘How did that happen?’ Davidson guard Tyler Kalinoski said.”
— Two-Way readers, who are incredibly smart, correctly predicted that the most likely upset would happen between Oregon and Oklahoma State. Oregon, seeded 12, beat Oklahoma State, seeded 5th, by a score of 68-55.