There were a number of bracket busters during the first four days of the tournament, but none of them carried the destructive bang of the Kansas loss. When the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament gets shocked in the second round, you know a number of brackets suddenly went up in smoke.
The giant killers who ended the Jayhawks’ short tournament run were the No. 9 Northern Iowa Panthers. They were an 11.5-point underdog at Sportsbook, but somehow outplayed the national championship favorite in a huge 69-67 upset.
Next up for the Panthers in the Sweet 16 is a date with a potentially-shorthanded No. 5 Michigan State. If the Spartans are without leading scorer Kalin Lucas, the show could continue to go on for the Panthers.
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The Panthers weren’t the only team to post a major upset in the early days of the tournament. The first major upsets on Day 1 were delivered by Morgan State and Ohio. No. 13 Morgan State shocked No. 4 Vanderbilt at the buzzer, while No. 14 Ohio mauled Georgetown in a blowout.
Unfortunately that was the end of the line for both of them as they couldn’t find the magic again in the second round.
If you’re looking for second-round upsets, try St. Mary’s, Cornell, and Washington. All three are double-digit seeds and all three are in the Sweet 16. Cornell's arrival is the first time an Ivy League school made it this far since the Carter Administration.
Let’s start with the No. 10 Gaels. They posted a minor upset over Richmond in the Sportsbook round and kept it going in Round 2 by thumping Villanova 75-68 as a 4.5-point underdog. Next on their dance card is No. 3 Baylor as a 3.5-point underdog.
Moving on to the No. 12 Big Red, who have also delivered a pair of upsets. In their Sportsbook-round matchup with No. 5 Temple they shredded the Owls 78-58 as a 3-point underdog. That earned them with a date with No. 4 Wisconsin and they slammed the Badgers 87-69 as a 4-point ‘dog. Cornell’s joyride could be over, as they get No. 1 Kentucky next as a 9.5-point underdog.
Lastly there’s the No. 11 Huskies. They have also sent two higher seeds packing. First it was No. 6 Marquette after a tight 80-78 victory as 1.5-point underdogs. In Round 2 versus New Mexico they were actually a 2-point favorite and delivered in an 82-64 rout. The Huskies will get to see how good they really are in the Sweet 16 against No. 2 West Virginia as a 4.5-point underdog.