Underdog UMBC rides wave of magical season to historic upset

Where we are right now in Virginia basketball history: either you loudly proclaim your uncritical and undying love for coach Tony Bennett, or you're voted off the island. On Friday, they became the first 16th seed to beat the No. 1 seed with their stunning 74-54 win over Virginia.

Maura buried two threes early in the second half, but, more impressively, he stayed in the game after he took a charge that would have sent most guys his size to the bench. Given their confidence level is through the roof here at the Spectrum Center after beating the unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Poll, there is nothing they feel they can't accomplish. The Wildcats entered the NCAA Tournament after losing three of their final four games, but took care of Creighton in the First Round back on Friday.

Faith in this team was hard to shake, but in the end that hope was not enough to carry them to the sweet 16. The Wildcats will look to advance to the Elite Eight when they play No. 9 seed Kansas State. We survived Haman and the Persian Empire's plan to wipe out all the Jews in the Purim story; the ragtag Chashmonaim guerillas defeated the Greek super-power during Chanukah; and more recently the State of Israel withstood three wars waged on numerous fronts against nations and armies many times their number.

He hated it most for his seniors, because they will never get another chance.

How UMBC got to the NCAA tourney is intriguing and two of its regular-season wins were over league foe University of ME, 72-67 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor and 86-74 in Baltimore.

Joe Sherburne, who drained three big 3-pointers against Virginia, spent his newfound time in the spotlight hoping National Football League quarterback Aaron Rodgers will notice him. I've never even heard of Loyola Chicago! Those four letters are now synonymous with the biggest upset in college basketball history, but it's a long way from becoming a basketball school.

The Big 12 also placed four teams in the round of 16.

The Shockers went out in the first round, upset by Marshall, Conference USA's only tournament team.

"When you're in a smaller conference like we are, you see a lot of talk about, 'These small conferences shouldn't even be in the tournament, ' 'We don't need 16-seeds, '" the junior Joe Sherburne said. When you just get in (the Orange were the last team selected in this year's field), like now I'm a great coach. We're not a sports school - or at least we're not known as a sports school - but actually our team is really good. I'm s*&%, I'm no better than I was two weeks ago. His editorial work can be found in Pop Dust, The Liberty Project, and All Things Go. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, were the top-ranked team in America, posted the NCAA's best regular-season won-lost record at 31-2, and were the public's most popular pick to win the title.

"I'm not going to make any excuses", Lyles said. "We've lost in the first round a couple of times, and we've lost to teams that were deserving of winning".

Following such a remarkable, emphatic win, handicappers probably need to adjust their expectations for UMBC going forward. Such a victory was widely thought next to impossible.

I think the coaching of Mark Few, and Gonzaga's game against a defensively stout Ohio State, give Gonzaga the upper hand here.

  • Salvatore Jensen