It has never happened before. It wasn’t supposed to happen ever. And it certainly was NOT supposed to happen to this UVA team. And not like this. But it did. Little UMBC handed the second glass slipper to the prince and now they can go on to live happily ever after. Well, not quite, but close.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County defeated No. 1 ranked Virginia and it wasn’t even close. What made the win so stunning? UVA was utterly outplayed and out-coached and outclassed. It was a sight to see. The group text I sent to my sons long before the end of the game was this: “We’re watching history in the making.” It may well have been the most improbable upset win in sports history. That’s ALL of sports.
Yes the score was tied at the half, 21-21. Yes UVA was missing their star freshman guard DeAndre Hunter; and yes, everyone thought UVA would come out in the second half and take over the game. That’s what we thought, but that’s not what UMBC dreamed. UVA was picked to win it all. Not so. UVA wasn’t just a No. 1 Seed, they were the OVER ALL No. 1 Seed. UVA never got on track and UMBC did. And they ran UVA right out of the gym. They won by 20 points. Twenty points! That wasn’t just a win, it was a beatdown.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County stunned the University of Virginia, 74-54, in the biggest upset in tournament history. The Retrievers were 22.5-point underdogs. Senior guard Jairus Lyles scored 28 points, as the Retrievers blew open a tie game at the half and outscored arguably the best defensive team in the nation 53- 23 after intermission. Before this loss, Virginia was 31-2 on the season and the top overall seed.
For many March Madness fans, the upset also breaks and busts their brackets. Virginia was the most popular pick to win the tournament in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge.
The tiny Maryland school, which lost to teams such as Colgate, Army and Towson this year, relished the attention. They believed in each other and listened to their coach, who after the game seemed like he just finished brushing his teeth. Coach, you just defeated a No. 1 Seed! To him, it seemed like no big deal; he was so calm, cool and collected he had time to speak of the next game and winning that one too. I like him. I like this coach a lot.
Now UBMC will live in infamy as the ONLY No. 16 Seed to defeat a No. 1 Seed EVER. And so, by faith, dreams do indeed come true.
And that’s why we love the madness of March.