It’s madness in Indy

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Brentton Wharton, staff writer

So far the NCAA Tournament has lived up to it’s monacar, “March Madness”. Full of unpredictable moments just within the first weekend of games, this year’s tournament has crowds buzzing and brackets busted.

One of the biggest shockers came in round one of the tournament when #15 seeded Oral Roberts bested Big Ten runner-up and #2 seed Ohio State. Oral Roberts got poised, impeccable performances from its two stars, Obanor and guard Max Abmas, to become the ninth 15 seed to win a first-round game and the first since Middle Tennessee shocked Michigan State in 2016.

Ohio State could have tied it in the closing seconds of overtime, but Duane Washington Jr.’s open 3-pointer from straight away bounced off the side of the rim, and Oral Roberts celebrated its first tournament win since 1974.The Golden Eagles’ roster is full of lightly recruited players who found their way to the small, private Christian school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Summit League champions bowed their heads in a prayer circle after their victory over the Big Ten power. This ultimate underdog also took out #7 seed SEC powerhouse Florida. No one saw the Golden Eagles coming, but everyone knows who they are now.

Number 1 seed Illinois was also bounced from the tournament early, losing to fellow Illinois school Loyola-Chicago in the round of 32. The number 8 seeded Ramblers look to advance to another Elite Eight, as they take on #12 Oregon State. 

A matchup to look forward to in the Sweet Sixteen is #1 Baylor vs #5 Villinova. Expect scoring to be on the table in this one, as Villanova and Baylor both have offenses that have excelled this year, with the Wildcats managing 75 PPG and the Bears amassing an average of 83. Both teams are yet to score less than 73 points during March Madness, with Baylor managing totals of 79 and 76 in their two games so far, whilst Villanova have managed totals of 73 and 84.

It must be said that Villanova’s defense has been decent, allowing just 66 PPG, however they were competing in the Big East, a conference that isn’t exactly as difficult as the Big 12. So far this year, Baylor has scored at least 72 points in 23 of their games, a ridiculous record that makes me think they could easily put the Villanova defense to the sword this weekend. I think I like Baylor in this one, the experience in the tougher conference and the electric offense I think will fare too much for the Wildcats. Look for #1 Baylor to advance to the Elite Eight this weekend, with a 83-76 victory over #5 Villinova.

On Monday, the rest of the Sweet 16 was filled out with winners including Gonzaga, Oregon, Creighton, UCLA, Michigan and Florda State. No. 2 seed Iowa lost to Oregn, leaving Michigan as the only Big Ten team still playing.

There’s plenty of interesting matchups that could come out of this field we have. Could you Imagine a number 15 seed playing against a number 13 or number 14 seed in the NCAA Championship? We’re two rounds into this tournament and that’s still a possibility. It’s been a wild wild year.