2022’s biggest first-round March Madness upsets

Mac Duross, Staff Reporter

Outside Ms. Love’s classroom, the College Sports Club’s March Madness bracket shows the progress of the tournament. In the first round, it’s difficult to correctly predict upsets.(Stella Turner)

The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament began earlier this month, March 17. This tournament, famously known as March Madness, always includes upsets, which happen when a lower seeded team beats a higher seeded opponent. The Bracket Challenge always puts pressure on fans to guess these upsets before they happen, and choosing the wrong upset – or not choosing an upset at all – can cause your bracket to become “busted.”

Year after year, there are always upsets between the 8 and 9, 7 and 10, and 6 and 11 seeded teams in the first round. However, with the 5 and 12, 4 and 13, 3 and 14, and 2 and 15 seeded teams, upsets are rare, but still about two or three typically occur. For example, Oral Roberts University was a 15 seed that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last year.

The first round’s most notable upset, which busted a lot of people’s brackets, was Saint Peter’s University’s take down of the University of Kentucky in a 2 versus 15 seed matchup. The matchup was thrilling, as both teams were neck-and-neck the whole game. Saint Peters hit crazy shot after crazy shot, boosting the momentum of their runs each time. The Saint Peter’s Peacocks were able to rally and tie the game, forcing it into overtime. The Peacocks were able to finish the Kentucky Wildcats off in the first round, with a final score of 85 to 79.

The player of the game – Doug Edert, a 6’2 combo guard for the Peacocks – totaled 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. This was all while coming off the bench for the Peacocks. He also went 8 for 8 from the free throw line and 5 for 7 from the field. Kentucky’s best player, Oscar Tshiebwe, gave a valiant effort against the Peacocks, putting up 30 points on 11 for 16 shooting, along with having 16 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, and 2 assists.

Another crazy upset in the first round of the men’s NCAA Bracket was the matchup of the University of Connecticut and New Mexico State University. This was a 5 and 12 seed upset where New Mexico State University took the win. The game looked like a blowout in the second half with New Mexico State taking a 14 point lead with around 17 minutes left to go. The UConn Huskies fought back and were able to tie it with two minutes and five seconds left to go. The very next play, the Aggies’ star player, Teddy Allen, tipped the ball out after a missed layup attempt by the Aggies, and his teammates were able to secure the rebound. After the rebound, Allen called for the ball and knocked down a big pull up three to put the Aggies up 3 with a minute and forty two seconds left to go.

The final score was 70-63 in a win for the New Mexico State Aggies. Allen was named player of the game, leading all scorers with a total of 37 points, shooting 4 for 7 from three and 13 for 13 from the free throw line, and scoring four more points than the rest of his team combined in total. A notable player for the Huskies was RJ Cole, who shot just under 50 percent from the field with 20 points and 4 assists. 

The last and perhaps most exciting upset was the University of Iowa versus the University of Richmond in a 5 versus 12 matchup. The Hawkeyes and Spiders both just won their conference tournaments, and each team was feeling confident coming into the tournament. Many people assumed Iowa was the clear winner, as they had just won the Big Ten Conference, a well respected conference for basketball. However, Richmond had other plans.

The Spiders were leading for most  of the game with exciting plays from the Spider’s star players Jacob Gilyard and Tyler Burton. The Hawkeyes answered every play against the Spiders but ultimately could not pull out the victory. It was a rough game for the Hawkeyes and was most likely their last game with their star player, Keegan Murray. Murray had 21 points and 9 rebounds, but it was not enough to top the Spiders momentum. There were two standout performances from the Richmond Spiders – one being Jacob Gilyard, who had a total of 24 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. The other star player for the Spiders, and a possible future NBA prospect, Tyler Burton, had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 steals.