Congratulations to the UMBC Retrievers and everybody in #RetrieverNation.
You just became the first ever #16 seed to upset a #1 seed. You are the all time bracket buster of all bracket busters. You are the 1980 USA “miracle on ice” Olympic hockey team and the 5,000-1 long shot Leicester City 2015-16 Premier League champions all rolled into one.
Heading into this game tonight, #16 seeds were 0-135 all time against #1 seeds (the field began seeding in 1985), but the University of Maryland-Baltimore County got it done! They didn’t just pull off an upset win- they won by 20 (74-54)! They didn’t just beat any old number #1 seed, they beat the top overall seed in the entire 68 team field, the best team in the nation, the Virginia Cavalier ! The UMBC Retrievers beat the ACC regular season and conference tournament champions.
The Cavaliers, winners of 30+ for the third year in a row, were champions of the best league in the nation, a conference that sent nine teams into the NCAA Tournament.
UMBC Retrievers guard Jordan Grant on being the first No. 16 to beat a No. 1 seed:
“We just said we could be the one to do it. Every time we go into that huddle at practice we just believed in ourselves and believed that coach was going to put us in the right positions to pull it off.”
Grant on when it clicked that they would win:
“When they pulled Arkel’s shorts. I looked up at the clock and it was maybe a 1:30 and I just looked around and I was like ‘man, this is just crazy.’ We’re up 17 on the number one team in the country with a minute left. There are no words for it.”
UMBC Retrievers guard Daniel Aiken on when it clicked that they would win the game
“I think I had a feeling, 10 minutes left in the game. We were still up by like 11 and we just couldn’t miss. We were playing the best defense we had played all year.”
The win takes on yet another level of meaning for the UMBC Retrievers Jarius Lyles, whose parents are UVA graduates
“I think they wanted us to get the win most importantly, but I’m sure it’d be a topic of discussion for a little while,” Lyles said.
“I think we had the confidence coming into the game. I don’t think there was a point in the game that we thought we couldn’t play with them, we thought we could play with them coming into the game.”
Tying up with them at half definitely gave us more confidence and like Joe and K.J. said, myself included we definitely went into the half with more confidence.”
The UMBC Retrievers are exactly what March Madness is all about, and why we’re all fixated on this tournament every year.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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