Good afternoon, BBN! It’s been quite a tournament so far, and we don’t have to worry about Florida making a deep run anymore thanks to Oral Roberts. We saw a 15 seed, 12 seed, 11 seed, and another 11 seed advance to the Sweet 16 in games that wrought havoc on brackets everywhere. Let’s celebrate the five biggest winners of the second round:
The Hogs are back, turning the clock toward the 1990s as Eric Musselman has the Razorbacks in the Sweet 16 for the first time since the dominant teams of the VHS rental era. Texas Tech almost sent it to overtime with some close shots at the rim, but couldn’t get them to fall. Now they face 15 Oral Roberts as they look to reach the Elite 8.
The Orange have once again weaseled their way off the bubble and into the Sweet 16 with their 2-3 zone. After smashing San Diego State in Round 1, they outlasted West Virginia in a 75-72 nailbiter. Next up they face 2-seed Houston, who barely squeaked past Rutgers by three.
3. UCLA Bruins
One blueblood still remains as the field narrows to 16, but who would’ve thought it would be the Bruins? Yet here they are, defeating Michigan State, BYU, and Abilene Christian to go where Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, UConn, and Indiana aren’t. If you had called that in the preseason, you could fill an entire swimming pool with jelly doughnuts (or, more practically, vacation in the Bahamas for a year).
2. Loyola Ramblers and Oregon State Beavers
I put these two together because that’s the matchup we’ve got: the Ramblers and the Beavers! If you had that in your bracket, then you’re probably the envy of your office pool. Not only do we have an 8 vs 11 matchup—but we have some of the most impressive teams of the tourney playing each other. But the most impressive team by far has to be...
1. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
...the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts! The birds made history the other night as they became only the second 15 seed to ever reach the second weekend. If they beat Arkansas they’ll become the only 15 seed to ever reach the Elite 8, and then they’re only a game away from the Final Four...
Congratulations, Oral Roberts. For the next four days you’ll be on top of the basketball world, and even if you don’t stay there, you are still the biggest winners of the Round of 32 and the entire tournament so far.