The NCAA Tournament has been fun so far, but of the 16 games that were played yesterday, despite a number of close and exciting games, there have only been two real upsets so far, and no, a No. 9 seed beating a No. 8 seed does not count. And really, that’s the best part of March Madness, brackets be damned.
Well if you want upsets, you may want to turn an eye to the NAIA Basketball Championship, going on as we speak in Kansas City, after the opening 16 games (they only have a 32-team tournament), The lower seed took home wins in eight of the games. That’s right, half of the games have been upsets. And if you don’t consider a 5 beating 4 an upset, that’s happened twice, so of 16 games, six have been honest to goodness upsets.
But we’re not talking any upsets here, two of the No. 1 seeds have already gone done, including top overall seed The Master’s College in California, who entered at 29-2, but fell in over time to 21-13 Peru State (Neb.) in the opening round. Pikeville (Ky), 28-4, was the other No. 1 seed to fall, dropping a 63-61 game to a Langston (Ok) team that was 20-11 entering the tournament.
There have also been two No. 2 seeds to go down! So of those six “true” upsets, four of them have been of the major variety, as in, a 15 beating a 2, a 14 of 3, or 16 over a 1. Wayland Baptists (TX) CRUSHED No. 2 Central Metodist (MO) by a 68-44 final, and Campbellsville (Ky) held off Columbia (Mo) with a 75-66 win.
I’m not sure why there are so many major upsets at the tournament, but it could have something to do with start times. The NAIA Tournament plays all 31 games over a span of just seven days, and plays EVERY game in the same arena. So in the first two rounds, that means games start at 9 a.m. local time, and can often go past midnight if a couple of the earlier games run long or go to overtime.
So what it all means is that the NAIA Tournament is WIDE open as it rolls along today, and you have some wild matchups like an 8 playing a 4 (in NCAA terms, a 15-16 playing an 8-9), an 8 playing a 5, and a 7 playing a 6. Not exactly what most bracketologists, if there is such a thing at the NAIA level, would have predicted.
So if you want to follow along with all the craziness that is the NAIA Tournament, here are the scores and live stats (Streaming costs money so don’t do that), and the National Championship will be shown on ESPN3 on March 20 at 7 p.m.
Enjoy watching a bunch of schools you’ve never heard of put it all on the line in Kansas City!