It happens every year: The NCAA men’s basketball tournament starts, and even though we all know full well that upsets are in store, the basketball deities somehow serve up enough, well, madness to surprise us all over again.
And yet, after these three games, “madness” seems an inadequate word. Maybe “bedlam” would be better. Or just “straight-up statistics-defying insanity.” Because yeah, that last one happened.
3. Wisconsin Stuns Xavier:
Even though Wisconsin went all the way to the national final in 2015, they were still the underdogs (under-badgers?) to second-seeded Musketeers. But with the score knotted at 63 and precious seconds flying off the scoreboard, Bronson Koenig decided to channel his “inner Steph Curry.” And then this happened.
2. Notre Dame Holds on by Rex Pflueger’s Fingertips
This finish was already thrilling, in and of itself. A tip-in basket with just 1.5 seconds left to win by 1 freaking point? Outrageous. But the fact that the Fighting Irish survived by the steady hand of Rex Pflueger, a freshman who’s averaged 2.5 points per game all year?! Sweet indeed.
1. Northern Iowa Crumbles to Texas A&M
Up 12 points with 44 seconds to go, Northern Iowa was probably feeling pretty invincible—even against the more highly ranked Texas A&M Aggies. But with their primary inbounder, Matt Bohannon, injured and out of the game, the Panthers surrendered a few turnovers. Texas A&M scored a few points. And then a few more. And then…
Texas A&M’s last-second rally (or, alternatively, Northern Iowa’s collapse) at the end of regulation amounted to the largest rally ever overcome to eventually win a game in the entire history of college basketball.
With Notre Dame and Wisconsin set to face off in the next round, we know someone’s luck is bound to run out. The question is: Whose?