For the entire duration of this tournament, I’ve been shouting from the hill tops that this year the upsets aren’t really upsets based on the fact that the seeding of many of these teams is misleading at the very least.
For example, UCLA came into the tournament seeded 7th, when you look at their season and their team, it’s hard to see how they were seeded higher than Butler and VCU, both teams that are off to the Final Four. That’s just one example.
When Arizona beat the breaks off Duke, anyone who watched that game wouldn’t dare say Arizona looked like an underdog. Every single team Butler has beaten, never once did they look outmatched or out classed.
If there was one team that was going to be truly upset, it was the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks had arguably the easiest road to the Final Four as far as the seedings were concerned. For the Jayhawks to reach the Final Four, their path would not see them face a single digit seeded team.
Those who picked Kansas to reach the Final Four and ultimately the National Championship game had to have liked their chances. To go to the Final Four Kansas would have to face the 11th seeded VCU in the Elite Eight. On paper, Kansas had an advantage in almost every category, but that why they play the games.
From the outset of the game VCU took it to the Jayhawks and lead by 14 going into halftime. In the second half Kansas made a run and cut the deficit to a single basket, but that was as close as they would get. VCU simply outplayed Kansas, who played arguably the worse game of their season.
When the final buzzer sounded it was VCU, the team that many thought shouldn’t have even been in tournament that was cutting down the nets. To me, this was the first true upset of the tournament. Kansas shot 2-22 from beyond the arc and missed 13 free throws, shooting just 15-28 from the charity stripe. The Jayhawks also shot just 34% from the field. It was a classic choke show and it was probably the upset that busted everyone’s bracket. It busted mine.
VCU had some standouts step up. Jamie Skeen and Brandon Rozzell lit it up from beyond the arc, combining to shoot 8 of 14 from three point land. Skeen had a career game, scoring a team high 26 points in the victory that shocked the world. Credit has to be given to the VCU defence, but this was more of a collapse by Kansas than anything else.
VCU and their young head coach Shaka Smart have served notice to the college basketball world that they are a force to be reckoned with.