We all knew that it was going to happen. The only question was which number seed was going to fall first. Well, we got our answer when 8 seed North Carolina State bounced out top seed Villanova, 71-68, in the Round of 32.
It was an upset that you can add to the Wolfpack’s lore of stunning March Madness runs. Sure, it’s not quite as special as Jimmy Valvano’s 1983 championship-winning squad, but you can definitely slot this one just below that. NC State also got some help from a surprisingly tight Villanova, a far different team from the one that walloped 16 seed Lafayette by 41 points two days ago.
Villanova’s surprising early exit was the biggest storyline in a day that saw the other top seed in action, Kentucky, book their ticket to the Sweet 16 by beating 8 seed Cincinnati, serving notice yet again that they’re the clear-cut favorites to go all the way.
2 seed Arizona also advanced to the Sweet 16, as did 3 seed Notre Dame and 4 seed North Carolina. The other 4 seed in action, Georgetown, got sent home by 5 seed Utah while 11 seed UCLA continued its improbable run by running past 14 seed UAB.
For the second day in a row, favorites finished strong again, having fully recovered from the first day pasting by securing a 5-3 record against the underdogs.
Tomorrow is another day of the Round of 32 and the action is getting started early with 2 seed Virginia taking on 7 seed Michigan State. Fellow 2 seeds – Kansas and Gonzaga – are also scheduled to play against two 7 seeds – Wichita State and Iowa while the other two top seeds – Duke and Wisconsin – tussle respectively with 8 seeds San Diego State and Oregon.
Other games on the docket include 3 seed Oklahoma taking on 11 seed Dayton, 4 seed Maryland playing against 5 seed West Virginia, and 4 seed Louisville and 5 seed Northern Iowa.