Loyola-Chicago, UMBC and Buffalo were among the most surprising teams during 2018 March Madness in San Antonio busting most of the country’s brackets.
Eleven seed Loyola-Chicago was the Cinderella team that made it to the Final Four this year. The team made big headlines after their first game, knocking out six seed Miami. Miami was going far in lots of brackets. Round of 32 Loyola-Chicago was matched up three seed Tennessee in the next round. The team was neck and neck throughout. The score was tied with one minute remaining. Loyola-Chicago had the ball with 20 seconds remaining in the game.The ball was in the hands of junior guard Clayton Custers. Cluster drove to the basket with eight seconds left and threw up a shot, hitting the back rim and then dropping in.
Loyola-Chicago went on to play seven-seed Nevada in the sweet 16. The game was tight for the whole 40 minutes. Once again Loyola-Chicago came up clutch at the end, hitting another game winner to send them into the Elite Eight. There, Loyola-Chicago matched up against Kansas State, and they dominated. They pulled away in the second half and ended up winning by 16. In the Final Four they played three-seed Michigan. Loyola-Chicago had a 10-point lead heading into halftime. The second half started out close but then Michigan went on a run and ended up taking the lead. After that point in the game Loyola-Chicago never had any comeback and ended up losing 69-57, ending their miraculous tournament run.
The most surprising game of the tournament was between top seed Virginia and 16 seed UMBC Retrievers. UMBC was led by 5’8” senior guard K.J. Maura. Maura was a dominant force throughout the game offensively and defensively. He was matched up against Virginia’s best player, freshman guard Kyle Guy. Guy was Virginia’s leading scorer throughout the year and was one of the dominant players in college basketball this season. Never in March Madness history had a 16 seed ever beaten a one seed. But finally that changed when UMBC dominated the whole game, never giving up the lead once they were up.
Another big upset team in the tournament was the 13. seed Buffalo. Buffalo faced the four-seed Arizona in the first round. Arizona was one of the most picked teams to win the whole tournament. Arizona was filled with stars throughout their roster including potential number one pick for the 2018 NBA draft freshman center Deandre Ayton. Arizona was projected to win by eight points. Once the game started, it was all Buffalo the whole game. They crushed Arizona from start to finish, shocked the world and ended up winning 89-68.