Updated: May 10, 2022
You can toss the analytics and score predictions out the window when March rolls around.
Before the four “late-night” games on Thursday night, there were only 743 perfect brackets still in circulation on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge platform. By the time this piece runs on House Enterprise, that number will more than likely be cut in half…if not down to zero.
It’s clear that the more we’ve covered college hoops, the harder this sport becomes to predict.
Here are the “medalists” for Thursday’s biggest upsets in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Bronze: #12 New Mexico State def. #5 UConn
Depending on who you ask, Dan Hurley could be considered a crowd favorite. One of the best offensive rebounding teams in the nation was in an excellent position to make a splash and maybe even reach the Sweet 16, give Gonzaga a run for its money, and call it a season well-done. But New Mexico State had other plans; the Aggies jumped out to a 14-point first-half lead that would prove to be insurmountable, and won 70-63. It was a disappointing game for UConn, but the 37-point performance from NMSU’s Teddy Allen - who transferred from Nebraska by way of West Virginia - overshadowed any sort of shortcoming on either side. The Aggies draw #4 Arkansas in the Round of 32 - let’s see how that all goes down.
New Mexico State's Teddy Allen (#0) dropped 37 tonight as the Aggies sweated out a 70-63 victory over the #5 UConn Huskies. PIC: Frank Franklin II/AP)
Silver: #12 Richmond over #5 Iowa
Iowa was getting praise like never before to start this week off. Their performance in the Big Ten tournament, riding their hot streak all the way to some hardware, was noted by many pundits as proof the Hawkeyes can be successful in the tournament. But the Richmond Spiders - who had to win four games in a row in the A-10 Tournament to even appear in March Madness - were too much. Iowa shot a dismal 36% from the field and 20.7% from downtown…that won’t win you many games, regardless of the opponent. Tip of the hat to Jordan Bohannon, who’s played his last game with Iowa; he’ll finish as the school’s all-time leader in three pointers and assists. Richmond and Providence square off on Saturday; the Spiders need to crack an aggressive Friar defense if they have a prayer of being successful, as the Friars just proved they can significantly slow down one of the best offenses in the nation in South Dakota State.
Jordan Bohannon's historic career at Iowa comes to a close after a 67-63 loss to #12 Richmond. PIC: Jeffrey T. Barnes/The Gazette
Gold: #15 Saint Peter’s over #2 Kentucky
“Do you ever get nervous?” Allie LaForce asked Peacocks head coach Shaheen Holloway after the game. “About what?! It’s basketball!” Not many picked St. Peter’s to escape the wrath of Iona in the MAAC Tournament, but the Rider Broncs took out Pitino and company early on. That left ample room for Saint Peter’s to play smooth operator in the MAAC and cruise to the conference title. Their head coach, former Seton Hall guard Shaheen Holloway, proved he was ready to rise up to the moment, and put the clamps on the Kentucky Wildcats early. As our own Josh Adams mentioned in his piece today, the Run Baby Run Arena in Jersey City is nothing special; sure, the renovations gave it a face-lift, but “some high school programs in Texas would scoff at playing there.” But it was good enough to recruit bruiser forward KC Ndefo, sharpshooter Daryl Banks III, and Doug Edert, who seemingly hit every big shot possible against the Wildcats. Kentucky’s veteran group was picked to go far, and it all came crashing down on them. We might have another Oral Roberts situation on our hands - the Peacocks certainly have the talent, and maybe even a bit of luck on their side.