UPSET ALERT: Syracuse Does It Again

Similar to 2016, the Orange Still Lurk

The Orange pulled out a miracle 55-53 win over the 3 seed and Big Ten regular season champion Michigan State in Detroit.  Syracuse made some key free throws down the stretch, even though they were badly outrebounded in this game 44 to 24.

Tyus Battle led the Orange with 17 points, followed by Oshae Brissett with 15.  Casisu Winston led Michigan State with 15, while Miles Bridges was held to 11 points.

Next up for Syracuse is an ACC rematch with Duke, at the Midwest Regional in Omaha, Nebraska.

I will be back with another blog sometime tonight.  Enjoy the new version of Cinderella, as UMBC plays Kansas State on truTV from Charlotte at around 7:45 p.m. Eastern time.


Seven More Schools Leave Green With Envy

The three afternoon games were not close, but the four evening tilts were very tight.

Kansas held off Seton Hall 83-79, even though Angel Delgado had 24 points and 23 rebounds.  It was the first time that a losing player had a 20-20 game since 1978.

Also of note:

Gonzaga slid past Ohio State 90-84 in Boise and Texas Tech escaped past Florida 69-66.  But the best ending belonged to Jordan Poole.  The freshman guard executed on the back end of a great 3 man relay pass with 3.9 seconds left.  One pass led to a pair of slick passes and found Poole from 28 feet away on the right wing.

Nothing. But. Net.

Michigan won 64-63, but Houston did everything right except for Devin Davis missing on a pair of free throws in the final seconds.

Sunday begins with Purdue playing without Issac Haas, who broke his forearm in Friday’s win over Cal State Fullerton.  This game with Butler might be one to keep an eye on from Detroit.

However, the newest Cinderella plays at night as UMBC gets it on with Kansas State just before 8 p.m.

Hope to see you then.  Please have a great night, and congratulations to Coach K of Duke passing the late Pat Summitt with 1,099 career wins.

UPSET ALERT: Another Last Second Game Winner For Loyola-Chicago


Tears For Fears, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”

From the album Songs From The Big Chair

Clayton Custer’s Jumper with 3.5 Seconds Left Lifts Loyola To Sweet 16

For the first time since the other Chicago cinderella team of Loyola made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 in 1985, this 2018 edition of the Loyola Ramblers has matched that squad.

Final score–Loyola of Chicago 63, Tennessee 62 at the Dallas pod.

Loyola as a 11 seed appeared to be in control until there were 3 minutes and 25 seconds left on the clock.  The third seeded Volunteers then showed why they shared the SEC regular season title with Auburn.  A 10-1 run ensued, capped off by a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left.

The first time down the court, a slightly errant pass went off the hand of Tennessee’s Grant Williams.  Video replays would later confirm that the referees indeed made the right call.  Inbounding the ball with around 10 seconds to go, Clayton Custer took a few dribbles into the paint, stepped back and hit a 13 footer that bounced twice off the rim before finally settling through the net with 3.5 seconds to go.  A final desperation three from Tennessee fell off the front of the rim, and in the front of 97 year old Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, her prayer was answered once again as the Loyola Ramblers return to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1985.

Already, one should notice that the South Regional is becoming a free-for-all.  One one side of the bracket is Kentucky, down during parts of the year but suddenly catching fire for the youngest team in Wildcats history.  Of course on Sunday, will UMBC turn the trick again–this time against Bruce Weber and Kansas State?  The only possible safe pick is the 2 seed of Cincinnati against the 7 seed of Nevada, who managed to break out of a tense struggle with Texas once Mo Bamba finally fouled out in the latter stages of regulation.

I will chime in again later this evening with a brief recap from the other seven games.

Some More Historical Perspective About UMBC’s Colossal Victory Over Virginia

First, from CBS Sports Network Bracket Breakdown:


Thoughts from Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett and the first 1 seed to lose, very classy indeed–even in defeat.  From the ACC Digital Network:

Moments after the final buzzer, Jay Bilas and Sean Farnham explain their thoughts from ESPN’s SportsCenter:

Finally, the priceless reactions caught on social media from some fans inside the Spectrum Arena in Charlotte at the South Region.  Also, check out what the UMBC players did in celebrating inside the locker room putting their stamp on history…forever:

One more small request if I may–can we just give the Retrievers the 2018 ESPY Awards for Game of the Year, Upset of the Year, etc.  History was made on Friday night, the first time in 136 attempts that a 16 seed finally beat a number 1 seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.




Second Round TV Schedule for Saturday and Sunday

Wonder what will top what Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, and Tracy Wolfson covered late on Friday night from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

That moment of UMBC pummeling Virginia to end the First Round will be relived forever.

In the meantime, here is your TV schedule as we begin Round Two (save for ESPN doing Notre Dame on their famous holiday hosting Penn State on St. Patrick’s Day in a second round NIT game at noon Eastern time):

Pittsburgh Pod:    Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

  1. Villanova vs. 9.Alabama,12:10 PM Eastern on CBS

2.Duke vs. 7.Rhode Island, 2:40 PM ET on CBS

Boise Pod:  Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, and Lisa Byington

5.Kentucky vs. 13.Buffalo, 5:15 PM ET on CBS

Dallas Pod:  Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore, and Ros Gold-Onwude

3.Tennessee vs. 11.Loyola-Chicago, 6:10 PM ET on TNT

Wichita Pod:  Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, and Evan Washburn

1.Kansas vs. 8.Seton Hall, 7:10 PM ET on TBS

Boise Pod:

4.Gonzaga vs. 5.Ohio State, 7:45 PM ET on CBS

Dallas Pod:

3.Texas Tech vs. 6.Florida, 8:40 PM ET on TNT

Wichita, Kansas Pod:

3.Michigan vs. 6.Houston, 9:40 PM ET on TBS

And for Sunday, we could be witnessing a television first.  Instead of the new normal where truTV does the last game of the second regional sites, CBS is thinking of passing on their normally strong prime-time lineup due to this historic moment in the making…

Detroit: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

  • 12:10 p.m.: No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 10 Butler, CBS
  • 2:40 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 11 Syracuse, CBS

Charlotte: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson

  • 5:15 p.m.: No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 7 Texas A&M, CBS
  • 7:45 p.m.: No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 16 UMBC, truTV or CBS

Nashville: Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl

  • 6:10 p.m.: No. 2 Cincinnati vs. No. 7 Nevada, TNT
  • 8:40: No. 1 Xavier vs. No. 9 Florida State, TNT

San Diego: Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

  • 7:10 p.m.: No. 4 Auburn vs. No. 5 Clemson, TBS
  • 9:40 p.m.: No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Marshall, TBS


The UMBC Retrievers Simply TKO’d Virginia Thanks To Some Gritty Defense and The Effective Use of the Three Point Shot

No. 16-Seeded UMBC Pulls Off Biggest Upset in College Basketball History by Stunning No. 1-Seeded Virginia

from Sports Illustrated,

Maryland-Baltimore County’s stunner vs. No. 1 Virginia will go down in NCAA Tournament lore


“An upset for all time.”

John Anderson on the midnight Eastern edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter

“The Madness has hit its’ peak.”

Kevin Kuglar on the Westwood One/NCAA Radio Network


Double Wow

Triple Wow


The 74-54 final score of Maryland Baltimore County stunning Virginia in the first round of the NCAA South Regional in Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday night March 16, 2018 has officially broken a good 95 percent of the brackets in this great country of ours.

The game was tied at 21 all at the half, before the Retrievers (I mistakenly said Terriers in my short podcast, call it being caught up in the heat of the moment) went on a three-point barrage of epic proportions.  No adjective that I have ever used in my five years of blogging here on WordPress or my past three years of Sports Editor at a small, private liberal arts college would not do me justice.

After 135 previous attempts since 1985, there will no longer be a goose egg in the left column when talking about 16 seeds playing against the 1 seeds (a 0.73529 winning percentage).  And yes, Twitter was quick to react to this rather stunning news:

First, from sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson and a few interesting stats from sports media:

UMBC simply dominated in every phase of the game–offense, defense, rebounding, and the intangibles:  getting to loose balls, making havoc and causing turnovers, and gaining confidence as the final 20 minutes dwindled down to seconds.

Jarius Lyles helped make the upset scoring 28 points and having four rebounds.  Joe Sherburne added 14, while Arkel Lamar tabbed 12 points, and K.J. Maura had 10.  Virginia was held to 41.1 percent shooting.  UMBC shot 14 of 28 from three point land, while Virginia was only 4 for 22 from behind the arc.

Want more irony?  Virginia allowed on average of 53. 4 points per game all season long.  They gave up 53 in the second half alone.  Also of note, Virginia had lost only two games all season, so clearly the magnitude of this moment should eclipse the once mighty Georgetown Hoyas of Patrick Ewing fame in 1985 as the biggest tournament upset of all-time.  Back when there was no three point shot, that was when the then 8 seed Villanova shot 79 percent to stun the Hoyas in that year’s National Championship game in Lexington, Kentucky.

Tonight was for Princeton in 1989 and Western Carolina in 1996, who came oh so close.  Tonight was for the Harvard women who stunned Stanford in 1998 by a score of 71-67 when they were the first women’s team to make this unique history.

I will remember this night forever as a simply an amazing game to watch.

Cue up the Youtube clips and alert ESPN Classic to put this game on repeat.  What an historic moment this was to witness on TNT.  Thankfully, CBS along with TBS and TruTV smartly pulled viewers from the other three regional sites to witness history.

Here is the box score for all you history buffs out there:





Possible Big Time Historical Moment Is About To Be Made

Super Bowl III in 1969

The U.S. men’s Olympic ice hockey team in Lake Placid, New York in 1980

Tonight, in Charlotte at the East Regional–

the University of Maryland at Baltimore County Terriers are taking it to the overall Number 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers–primarily doing it with hitting around 50 percent from long distance and getting most of the rebounds.

I hope to chime in again once the game goes final.

It is 61-44   UMBC with 3:47 to play.

We are on the verge of seeing the first ever 16 seed knock out a 1.

As legendary Chicago White Sox baseball announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson famously said years ago,

“Call your sons, call your daughters.

Call your friends, call your neighbors.”

See you then.