NCAA: Madness Recapped
The 2014 NCAA Tournament proved to be one of the most unpredictable tournaments we’ve seen yet. UConn’s sweep of both the men’s and women’s tournaments not only proved the school’s dominance in the sport of basketball (not that it was in question for the undefeated women’s team), but busted quite a few brackets along the way.
1,780 out of 11 million brackets submitted to ESPN’s Tournament Challenge put UConn and Kentucky in the national championship. Only .03 percent had UConn winning it all. My own bracket, as you may know, was not a part of that elite percentage (although it did trump the brackets of Paige, Brendan, and Adam in our little Breakthrough Sports group challenge). In fact, most people found that their “upset bracket” was more accurate than their original brackets. You could call 2014 the year of the upsets.
Mercer and Dayton are two schools that immediately come to mind when I think of this year’s upsets. After the Bears’ defeat of the Duke Blue Devils, and Kevin Canevari’s subsequent viral nae nae dance afterward, Mercer became a household name. Dayton’s Flyers flew all the way to the Elite Eight, becoming the only 11 seed to do so. Their upsets over Ohio State, Syracuse, and Stanford managed to both destroy a majority of South brackets and win the hearts of the nation.
And the upsets didn’t stop there. Once the teams get into the flow of the tournament, the upset games usually begin to taper off. This year, however, my phone was buzzing with upset alert notifications all the way through the Final Four. Connecticut and Kentucky both blew through the East and Midwest brackets with their only non-upset wins occurring in the round of 64.
We have yet to see a 16 seed advance in the tournament, but after this year’s surprises, that event could be just on the horizon.