Philadelphia, PA – It has been a wild and wacky start to the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament as 13 lower-seeded clubs got the best of their opponents in second-round play.
It seems as if the mid-major conferences, as well as teams from leagues without much stature, have been slowly but surely closing the gap between themselves and the power conferences.
Two years ago, just seven lower-seeded teams beat higher-seeded clubs in second-round play. Last season, 10 pulled the trick. Since 13 won this year, one can only imagine how many more second-round upsets there will be in 2014, especially since the trend is moving upward on a year-by-year basis.
No. 12-seeds have had great success over the five-seed the last couple of decades, but this season saw three 12s come away with victories - Ole Miss dumped Wisconsin, 57-46; California got past UNLV, 64-61; and Oregon beat Oklahoma State, 68-55.
Last year, two 12-seeds defeated fifth-seeded teams, and there was only one won in 2011. In fact, two of those three wins came by a combined six points. This season, two of the three 12th-seeded teams won by double digits.
Not only did 12-seeds do damage (as they usually do), but a 13, a 14, even a 15 pulled off upsets in this year's tournament.
The 13th-seeded La Salle Explorers knocked off fourth-seeded Kansas State. La Salle almost blew an 18-point halftime lead but came away with the two-point win.
Not to be outdone was the 14th-seeded Harvard Crimson. One day earlier, they won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game, beating third-seeded New Mexico, 68-62. Unfortunately, they could not keep the momentum going and failed miserably against Arizona, losing, 74-51. Still, it was one of the school's great moments and that is saying something when talking about Harvard.
Wrapping up the craziness that was the second round of this year's tourney was Florida Gulf Coast's shocking win over two-seed Georgetown. The Eagles, having already knocked off Miami (Fla.) earlier in the season, were not intimidated by the Hoyas one bit as they cruised to a 78-68 victory.
It is interesting to note only one team had scored more than 78 points against Georgetown all season long and that was Indiana way back in November. The Hoyas came into the game against Florida Gulf Coast, having allowed an average of 52 points per game in their prior five contests.
No one knows how the rest of the tournament will play out, but if the second round was any indication, get ready for many more upsets right through April.