As usual, this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament has lived up to expectation. The fireworks began in the first round with Michigan State. Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament with a 66-62 victory over Purdue. Last year, Michigan State felt slighted by the selection committee after receiving a #7 seed in the NCAA Tournament and ultimately advancing to the Final Four. This year, they were granted a #2 seed and considered a favorite to win the NCAA Tournament. Middle Tennessee State had other ideas and defeated Michigan State in the first round, 90-81.
Undoubtedly the best comeback win of the NCAA Tournament came in the second round with Texas A&M defeating Northern Iowa in double overtime, 92-88. With 44 seconds left in regulation, Texas A&M erased a 12-point deficit to force Northern Iowa into overtime. Good defense led to four Northern Iowa turnovers and a tied game by the end of regulation. With 5.9 seconds left in overtime, Texas A&M scored another tying basket forcing a second overtime. After giving Northern Iowa all they could handle, Texas A&M came away with the victory. It was such an amazing comeback that many Texas A&M fans had left the arena before the end of regulation.
All four #1 seeds made it to the Elite Eight, but only one, North Carolina, made it to the Final Four. In fact, a late tournament upset propelled #10 Syracuse into the Final Four with their 68-62 victory over #1 Virginia. Had Virginia defeated Syracuse, their Final Four matchup with North Carolina would have been a rematch of the ACC Tournament final. All four teams in the East and Midwest regions represented the ACC Conference ensuring that two ACC teams would reach the Final Four. As #2 seeds, Villanova and Oklahoma defeated the top seeds in their respective regions to round out the Final Four.