Joe Hanretty, Contributing Writer
We are always being told that no matter how hard we try, no one is perfect. This March, we have all been shown the truth in that statement — so to speak.
Each and every time the NCAA tournament rolls around, men, women and children alike try their hand at filling out that “perfect” bracket, only to be sorely disappointed. It is a strange notion, knowing that you have basically no chance at achieving prediction perfection and yet having the desire to be immortalized as the person who defied the odds. The odds of filling out a perfect bracket are one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808! Let that sink in for a minute. Those odds will no doubt go down as a result of the many upsets that have already occurred. Let’s take a peek at the headliners.
The University of Dayton beats Ohio State University: Led by Aaron Craft, Ohio State seemed like a shoo-in for the third round. The other UD (Dayton) had other plans as its senior guard Vee Sanford knocked down a bank shot on a layup with less than 10 seconds to go!
North Dakota State University (NDSU) beats the University of Oklahoma: As the tradition states, another No. 12 seed team upsets a No. 5 seed team. NDSU out-shot Oklahoma by almost 20 percent from both the field and the 15-foot stripe. Enough said.
Mercer University beats Duke University: Duke lost tragically to Lehigh University in 2011, and now to No. 14 Mercer? Something is not right in the sports world if Duke loses. It is certainly not due to the team’s Hall of Fame coach. I would go with the excuse of bad luck. Others point to the fact that Duke turned it over more than Mercer, but who really knows?
Stanford University beats New Mexico State University (NMSU): New Mexico lost because of its inability to knock down long-range shots. Four out of 21 shots from downtown is not going to get you many wins, especially in the biggest game of your life. NMSU also struggled mightily from the charity stripe going 11 of 19 free throws. Cameron Bairstow went off for 24 big ones, but where did the rest of his team go? Only one other player scored double digits on his team.
Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) beats Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU): This one hurt me personally. VCU has been a solid team all year. It did not have as strong a defensive showing this time around as SFA shot 53 percent from the field. The SFA Lumberjacks have been surprisingly strong in overtime games, going 7-1 in the last five years. Despite getting 11 impressive steals from their defense, the VCU Rams could not muster enough defensive rebounding to finish off the Lumberjacks.
Dayton beats Syracuse University: Ok, the time to go mad is approaching fast. Dayton just upset the No. 3 Orange! Are you serious?! It was a tight bout the entire way; Dayton just out-hustled and out-shot its way to the Sweet 16.
University of Connecticut (UConn) beats Villanova University: Another thriller that ended with a score not indicative of the amount of anxiety it caused. Villanova was touted as strong with the ball and not as careless as its 16 turnovers showed. But, oh, how one game can change a perception. UConn had 11 robberies to the six Villanova steals, which also contributed to the outcome.
Stanford beats the University of Kansas (KU): Finally we come to the Titan of all upsets. Stanford was cold from beyond the arc but outrebounded and seemed to play more physically than the Jayhawks. KU also hit a season low in points scored, which may be a sign of the toughness of the lone Ivy League school left in the tournament. Let’s see how far Stanford rides this train of success.