For the first time in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament history, a #16 seed defeats a #1 seed in the first round of the tournament. The Retrievers of UMBC defeat the Virginia Cavaliers in dramatic fashion 74-54.
It has finally happened. A #1 seed goes down in the first round of the tournament. UMBC of all teams comes through with the most improbable upset of the century. Virginia goes down, even while being ranked number 1 overall for the entire tournament. And #1 they were, for the entire regular season that is; but this is where the madness happens.
Who on earth has the University of Virginia just lost to? A school known as the University of Maryland, Baltimore County or UMBC for short. The home of the Retrievers with a mascot named True Grit; champions of the American East Conference. UMBC, or as Grant Hill put it, who was on the broadcast for the game, U Must Be Cinderella.
With a 20-point win, this game was not even close. However, going into halftime with a tie score of 21-21, the thought of an upset was still out of this world. It was in the second half though that the Retrievers started to open the door of possibility. Led by their senior guard, Jarius Lyles, UMBC went on a 24-8 run to take a 16 point lead into the final 12 minutes of play. The Cavaliers never found solid ground again, as the deficit continued to the closing seconds.
Previously, #16 seeds had been 0-132 in tournament play, with really no close calls to speak of. There was never any doubt or feeling that this could ever happen. Not only that this could happen in the year 2018, but some believing this sort of upset would never happen in our lifetimes.
There is nothing else that can be said other than UMBC played with a whole lot of True Grit.