March. Madness. Our favorite time of the year has lived up to the hype thus far as the field of 65 hopefuls will be minimized to a gritty 16 remaining teams by the end of the night. That doesn’t happen without several shockers to shake brackets nationwide, so much that ESPN reported there are no more “perfect” brackets in the US. Everyone has seen a few of their favorites go down at the hands of an opponent we may have all overlooked, but who?
Georgia State…who? Many people may have asked themselves that question when filling in their bracket winners but NBA prospect and the leading Sun Belt conference scorer R.J. Hunter had an appropriate answer for everyone that asked or overlooked their team. They say big players show up in the big moments. How does 12 points in the final 2 minutes including the game winning three pointer sound as far as BIG moments are concerned? That is exactly what he did as he carried the #14 seed Georgia State Panthers over the #3 seeded Baylor Bears 57-56.
Check out the late game dagger below (you think he was far enough, wow):
After mounting three consecutive come from behind wins in the Big 12 tournament, Iowa St. seemed to have their luck run out on the most important stage. The #3 seeded Cyclones were pushed to the limit and eventually upset by the #14 seed UAB Blazers 60-59 after some late game heroics by Freshman Forward William Lee. His double-double effort was highlighted by four clutch points down the stretch that gave the third youngest team in the field their first NCAA Tournament win in 10 years.
There is no way a number one seed can lose in the second round, right? Wrong. That is the beauty of the tournament, or the ugly side depending on who you were cheering for as #1 seed Villanova fell to #8 seed NC State 71-68. Despite one of the best individual performances in the tournament from G Darrun Hilliard with 27 points and numerous clutch buckets down the stretch, the damage was done as Villanova missed 20 of 28 field goals in the first half. You just can’t afford to do that against an ACC conference opponent who plays the likes of North Carolina, Duke, Louisville and Virginia multiple times a year and expect to win in March.
Sway’s Universe Sports Overtime Pick:
With so much action going on it’s tough to narrow down our favorite moments and plays throughout the tournament. If you see a jaw dropping play be sure to hit us with a link via @SwaysUniverse and share the wealth.
As of now, this Willie Cauley-Stein dunk versus Cincinnati holds the top spot (click the image):