Louisville, Duke Headline Major Tournament Upsets
What is even going on anymore in this NCAA Tournament?
Just a day after Villanova was stunned out of the tournament by the Wisconsin Badgers, the Las Vegas favourite Duke Blue Devils were ousted from March Madness by South Carolina in shocking fashion. After leading into the half by a score of 30-23, the Blue Devils’ defence fell apart, allowing 65-second half points to their seven-seeded opponents. Led by Sindarius Thornwell’s game-high 24-point performance and double-double from Chris Silva, the David of the tournament took down the tournament’s Goliath.
The 65-points allowed in the second half was the most points allowed in a single half by any Duke team ever coached by Mike Krzyzewski.
“That was the toughest defense we’ve played against all year. Physical,” Coach K told USA Today following the game. “At the end of the season, I want my guys to be crying because we lost or crying because we just won.”
Just two years after his fifth national championship victory, the hall of fame coach knows that it will be a long and interesting offseason for his Blue Devils with key pieces like Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard most likely heading to the NBA Draft.
Duke wasn’t the only school upset on Sunday night. Almost everyone’s tournament bracket took yet another big blow as the Michigan Wolverines took down the no. 2 Louisville Cardinals by a score of 73-69. Despite a stellar performance for Donovan Mitchell, a potential first round pick in the upcoming draft, the Cards could not slow down the Wolverine starting five leading to their eventual collapse.
Aside from two huge upsets, Sunday was dominated by Lonzo Ball.
Maybe not on the same level of LeBron James or Michael Jordan, Ball took over the second half of UCLA’s round of 32 game against Cincinnati. Down 33-30 at the half, the 19-year old guard did his best Jason Kidd impression, dissecting the Cincinnati defence, finishing with 18-points, 7-boards, and nine-assists on 70% shooting from the field, adding four threes in the winning effort.
Next up is the Sweet Sixteen and after a quiet start to the tournament, the madness has really kicked into gear!