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UMBC Retrievers

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UMBC Retrievers Bust Open 2018 NCAA Tournament

Watch it go up in flames.

Did your bracket set on fire late on Friday night? No, literally: did it spontaneously combust on your coffee table and set off your smoke detectors? If so, you can thank the UMBC Retrievers.

The bracket conflagration to end all bracket conflagrations happened on Friday, March 16, as the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament concluded. For the first time in the history of the tournament in its current format, a 16 seed beat a one seed. Not only did a one seed lose, but the number one overall seed in the tournament, the Virginia Cavaliers.

A popular pick to get to the Final Four and then win the national championship, Virginia, the ACC champions, had high hopes entering the Big Dance. As it turned out, they got dumptrucked in the second half of their game against the UMBC Retrievers. It can be categorized as nothing other than a complete embarrassment for the Hoos, but what is it for UMBC? And what does it mean for your bracket?

Did The UMBC Retrievers Bust Your Bracket?

If they busted yours, they probably busted others in your group. You weren’t going to win any billion-dollar bracket challenges, anyway, so calm yourself. About one in four people had the Cavaliers winning it all in CBS’s bracket game, and over half in the Final Four. If you went belly-up on Friday night, so did other people, so maybe you’re not totally screwed yet like Virginia is.

I mean, yes, if you had Virginia winning it all, this probably won’t work out for you, but if your other Final Four picks are alive, maybe you can still win the office pool.

And Did We Mention The UMBC Retrievers Won By 20?

This was not some squeaker of a game that came down to a buzzer-beater three. UMBC ran away and hid in the second half of the game. Virginia could not score a basket if their lives depended on it. The Retrievers made big shot after big shot. UMBC outplayed Virginia, and that’s the bottom line.

Give the Retrievers some credit, first by acknowledging that they are not a sixth-grade CYO team that got lucky. They won their conference to get in, and sometimes, it comes down to the team that wants it more. Without question, the UMBC Retrievers wanted it more that night. What we got as a result was the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history, perhaps the biggest in college basketball history, and one that’s up there in sports history.

Well Now What For The 2018 NCAA Tournament?

With the Hoos out of the way, Villanova has to be feeling better about their chances of winning the whole damn thing. In the short term, John Calipari maybe can’t complain about his draw now. He’s playing the 13 seed to close out his regional pod, and would either face a nine or a 16 seed to get to the Elite Eight. Though let me tell you, the Bulls may not be an easy out given what they, like the UMBC Retrievers, did to their higher seed opposition.

Teams like Cincinnati and Tennessee must also be thrilled, knowing that the route to the Final Four opened up for them, if they can get past one another.

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