3 Things We've Learned So Far This March Madness

And now we head to the Sweet 16

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So how long did it take for your bracket to bust? Was it Ohio State, or Illinois that did you in? Or perhaps was it Texas? Yes we know it’s ‘March Madness,’ but we are still finding it hard to believe the absolute craziness we have witnessed the first few days of this tournament. Have there been early upsets in previous years? Yes, but this many upsets so early on might be something that we have to compare to previous March Madness tournaments to see if this year has a case for the most early exits.

Last night closed out the second round, and now we head to the Sweet 16. With everything up in the air for what is sure to be a wild battle for the Elite 8, these are three things we have learned so far from the tournament.

Nobody Is Safe From An Upset

It’s probably safe to say that nobody had Illinois being sent home this early on their March Madness vision boards. Ohio State probably came as a surprise to a few folks, but if you watched the Buckeyes this season, then you know that while they were extremely talented offensively, from a defensive standpoint, they struggled at times (they were ranked 78th in the nation). Ohio State had been up and down since the middle of February but delivered a strong showing in the Big Ten Tournament, only losing to Illinois. OSU was projected to go further, but you could also see how they would struggle against an excellent offensive team like Oral Roberts.

Illinois, however, had National championship talks surrounding them prior to the tournament. So it was definitely a shock to see them suffer an early second-round exit. 

As we have said before, the regular season (or even the conference tourneys) means absolutely nothing once the tournament starts. Not even the last tournament game matters. You are only as good as the game you are currently playing, and teams that ‘have nothing to lose’ are by far the scariest that you can encounter. Oftentimes they come out looser, playing with a level of fearlessness because they aren’t expected to win. Sometimes (not all the time), higher-seeded teams with equally high expectations end up feeling the pressure, and that too can be affected by their level of play.

We could go on and on about the various reasons as to why an upset can happen, but the bottom line is that nobody is safe from an upset.

COVID Is Still A Legitimate Threat To The Tourney

We know you don’t want to hear this (and we really don’t want to talk about it either), but Covid is still very much a problem, and it has already impacted this tournament. As you all know, VCU had to forfeit their first-round matchup against Oregon due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests, and as a result, VCU was removed from the tourney, with Oregon automatically advancing to the next round.

Things seem to be okay right now (fingers crossed), but unfortunately we still have to be aware of this scenario potentially happening again. The only thing we can do is hope that all of the players, coaches, staff, etc., stay safe and healthy because it is truly heartbreaking for everyone involved when positive COVID tests affect the games.

Do Not Sleep On Oral Roberts

It is truly not March Madness without a potential Cinderella story. If you thought Oral Roberts' Friday night upset win over Ohio State was a fluke, then you might want to consider changing your stance quickly. The Golden Eagles took down the seventh-seeded Florida Gators on Sunday pulling off their second major upset in two days. That win against Florida makes Oral Roberts the second 15th-seed in NCAA history to reach the Sweet 16. 

This team has a bunch of resilient kids (such as D.J. Weaver who was huge in Sunday’s victory), who are unafraid of big moments. The Golden Eagles believe it is their time to shine, and their confidence rises with each victory. This team believes that they can win the championship, and are eagerly awaiting Saturday’s matchup against Arkansas for a spot in the Elite 8. 

Now is there a chance that Oral Roberts could potentially take down Arkansas?

Our answer to that would be anything is possible. If the previous two games are any indication, then the Golden Eagles could make things interesting. They proved their resilience against Florida when they battled back from an 11-point deficit, and numbers/seeding aside, they do have the offensive firepower to hang in there with Arkansas. Now we aren’t saying for sure that they can pull of the upset, but we are saying don’t be surprised if they do.

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