The good, bad and historically insane of the 2018 NCAA tournament's first weekend

It has been this insane before. That’s why they call it March Madness, after all. But not often. Rarely has an NCAA tournament’s first weekend featured this much drama; this many upsets; this much upheaval as we charge onward into the Sweet 16.

The first four days of the 2018 NCAA tournament rank right up there with memorable opening weekends from the past. They rank alongside 1986, 1990, 1999, 2000 and 2010.

Over four days, nine of 16 top-four seeds fell. Only twice before have so many favorites failed to win two games. The carnage began Thursday night, and continued piling up all the way through the penultimate game of Sunday. Of the 48 games, 15 were won by lower-seeded teams, a figure that ranks behind 2010 (16) and 1999 (19) but ahead of many topsy-turvy early rounds.

The result is a Sweet 16 in which the sum of all seeds is 85. That’s four lower than the sum in 1986, when 14th-seeded Cleveland State shocked Indiana and St. Joe’s. It’s three lower than 1990’s, when Ball State and Loyola Marymount won two games apiece. But it’s the highest since 2000.

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The best photos from March Madness: Round of 32
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The best photos from March Madness: Round of 32
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 18: Jevon Carter #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers shoots against Ajdin Penava #11 and Jon Elmore #33 of the Marshall Thundering Herd in the first half during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 18: Mfiondu Kabengele #25 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates with Braian Angola #11 after defeating the Xavier Musketeers in the second round of the 2018 Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 18, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 18: The Nevada Wolf Pack celebrate after defeating the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second round of the 2018 Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 18, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 18: Nick Ward #44 of the Michigan State Spartans shoots the ball against the Syracuse Orange in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on March 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 18: Matt Haarms #32 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates defeating the Butler Bulldogs 76-73 in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on March 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17: Phil Booth #5 of the Villanova Wildcats goes to the basket for a slam dunk against John Petty #23 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second half during the game in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 18: C.J. Burks #14 of the Marshall Thundering Herd passes against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 18: Braian Angola #11 of the Florida State Seminoles dives for a loose ball against Quentin Goodin #3 of the Xavier Musketeers during the second half in the second round of the 2018 Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 18, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 18: Elijah Thomas #14 of the Clemson Tigers goes up for a shot against the Auburn Tigers in the first half during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18: Theo Pinson #1 and teammate Kenny Williams #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels react at the end of their game against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 18, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 17: Jordan Poole #2 and Moritz Wagner #13 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate Poole's 3-point buzzer beater for a 64-63 win over the Houston Cougars during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at INTRUST Bank Arena on March 17, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 17: Ben Richardson #14 of the Loyola Ramblers and Jordan Bone #0 of the Tennessee Volunteers react after the Loyola Ramblers beat the Tennessee Volunteers 63-62 in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at the American Airlines Center on March 17, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 17: Udoka Azubuike #35 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts after being called for a foul against the Seton Hall Pirates in the second half during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at INTRUST Bank Arena on March 17, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The past four days have been the wildest four days of the NCAA tournament this decade, and quite possibly of the 21st century. There is, therefore, a lot to get to. A lot to rehash. A lot to celebrate, a lot to commiserate over, a lot to criticize. A lot to store in your memory banks for the next time a friend or relative asks about the craziest four days of sports you’ve ever witnessed.

So let’s stop dallying, and dive in. Here is the good, the bad, the historic, the insane, and the historically insane of the 2018 NCAA tournament’s first two rounds.

THE HISTORIC: UMBC

There is one and only one place to sensibly begin. Because on Friday night, a team that lost 85-39 to Albany in January did something nobody had ever done before. One hundred and thirty-five overmatch underdogs had tried; 135 had failed. UMBC, the 136th, didn’t just take down No. 1 overall seed Virginia; it rolled into the history books by 20 points.

And then it enjoyed 48 hours of unprecedented fame. The spotlight found everyone, from players to sassy tweeters to undergraduate applications. The dream ended Sunday night, just two days after it began. But those 48 hours will leave an indelible mark on the school. And they’ll be remembered by sports fans forever.

38 PHOTOS
UMBC beats UVa.
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UMBC beats UVa.
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; UMBC Retrievers guard Jairus Lyles (10) shoots the ball against Virginia Cavaliers forward Isaiah Wilkins (21) during the second half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Jairus Lyles #10 of the UMBC Retrievers and Isaiah Wilkins #21 of the Virginia Cavaliers dive for a loose ball during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Nigel Johnson (23) reacts after loosing to the UMBC Retrievers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; UMBC Retrievers guard K.J. Maura (11) and guard Jairus Lyles (10) celebrates beating the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; UMBC Retrievers guard K.J. Maura (11) shoots the ball against Virginia Cavaliers forward Isaiah Wilkins (21) during the second half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Jairus Lyles #10 of the UMBC Retrievers and Isaiah Wilkins #21 of the Virginia Cavaliers dive for a loose ball during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Head coach Ryan Odom of the UMBC Retrievers reacts to the on court action against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers forward Isaiah Wilkins (21) and UMBC Retrievers forward Joe Sherburne (13) go for a rebound during the first half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; UMBC Retrievers guard Jairus Lyles (10) drives to the basket against Virginia Cavaliers guard Devon Hall (0) during the first half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2017; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Emmanuel Akot (24) UMBC Retrievers forward Nolan Gerrity (35) (middle) and forward Max Curran (23) (right) battle for the ball during the second half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers center Jack Salt (33) and UMBC Retrievers forward Daniel Akin (30) go for the opening tip in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: The UMBC Retrievers celebrate in their locker room after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by John Joyner/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Arkel Lamar #33 of the UMBC Retrievers dunks the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Charlotte NC - MARCH 16: Virginia guard Kyle Guy (5), left, reacts to UMBC celebrating as UMBC upsets the University of Virginia in the 1st round for the mens NCAA basketball tournament at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte NC on March 16, 2018 . (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: The UMBC Retrievers celebrate their 74-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Charlotte NC - MARCH 16: UMBC's fans stay on their feet in the second half as their team's lead grows during UMBC's upset of the University of Virginia in the 1st round for the mens NCAA basketball tournament at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte NC on March 16, 2018 . (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: The UMBC Retrievers celebrate in their locker room after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by John Joyner/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: The UMBC Retrievers celebrate in their locker room after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by John Joyner/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: The UMBC Retrievers celebrate in their locker room after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by John Joyner/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: UMBC Retrievers fans celebrate during the second half of their win over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Jourdan Grant #5 and K.J. Maura #11 of the UMBC Retrievers celebrate after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Head coach Ryan Odom of the UMBC Retrievers hugs K.J. Maura #11 during the closing minute of their victory over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Daniel Akin #30 of the UMBC Retrievers reacts as he leaves the floor after a win over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Joe Sherburne #13 and K.J. Maura #11 of the UMBC Retrievers share a hug as time expires in their victory over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: UMBC Retrievers forward Arkel Lamar (33) grabs a rebound during the NCAA Division I Men's Championship First Round game between the UMBC Retrievers and the Virginia Cavaliers on March 16, 2018 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: K.J. Maura #11 and teammate Jourdan Grant #5 of the UMBC Retrievers celebrate their 74-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Jairus Lyles #10 of the UMBC Retrievers reacts to their upset of the Virginia Cavaliers 74-54 during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Daniel Akin #30 of the UMBC Retrievers reacts to their 74-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: K.J. Maura #11 and teammate Jourdan Grant #5 of the UMBC Retrievers celebrate their 74-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Arkel Lamar #33 of the UMBC Retrievers reacts to their 74-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: The UMBC Retrievers react after a score against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; The UMBC Retrievers bench reacts during the second half against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; UMBC Retrievers forward Arkel Lamar (33) reacts after a play during the second half against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; UMBC Retrievers celebrates beating Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; UMBC Retrievers guard K.J. Maura (11) celebrates beating the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett watches play during the NCAA Division I Men's Championship First Round game between the UMBC Retrievers and the Virginia Cavaliers on March 16, 2018 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Mar 16, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers forward Isaiah Wilkins (21) reacts on the bench during the second half against the UMBC Retrievers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Isaiah Wilkins #21 of the Virginia Cavaliers reacts to their 74-54 loss to the UMBC Retrievers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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THE BAD: Virginia

The other side of history, of course, is infamy. And that’s what Tony Bennett and his Virginia Cavaliers will have to carry with them for some time. Bennett entered the 2018 NCAA tournament with an irrational, unfair reputation for coming up small in March. He had, though, molded a team that was more susceptible to the unthinkable than other national title contenders. And although he and his players handled failure with class, the unwanted tag of first No. 1 to lose to a 16 will be difficult to shake.

THE INSANE: Loyola Chicago, times two

The Ramblers were one of only two teams to win twice as an underdog. They were the only one, however, to trail in the final five seconds of both their wins. Donte Ingram’s 3-pointer to beat Miami might have been usurped two days later as the top buzzer-beater of the tournament, but it got a rollicking four days underway.

Clayton Custer then beat Tennessee – with the help of a benevolent rim and backboard – and Loyola, an 11-seed, is a completely legitimate Final Four threat. How about that for a story?

THE BAD: Michigan State

The other team to win twice as an underdog? Syracuse, which actually did so three times in five days. Its most high-profile victim? Michigan State.

But the Spartans were as much their own victims as Syracuse’s. They tailored their offense against Jim Boeheim’s zone to play to one strength – 3-point shooting – but veer away from another – interior size, strength and skill. And the strength they chose inexplicably turned into a weakness on the afternoon. Cassius Winston, Miles Bridges, Josh Langford and Matt McQuaid made just eight of 37 attempts from beyond the arc. Izzo kept going back to them, and away from Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson. He paid dearly for that decision, got outcoached by Boeheim down the stretch, and is gone ’til November.

THE HISTORICALLY INSANE: Nevada

From 22 down with 11 minutes left! The Wolf Pack etched their name into NCAA record books with a comeback that tied Duke’s over Maryland at the 2001 Final Four for the second-biggest ever in the NCAA tournament. But Duke’s 22-point deficit was in the first half. Iona’s 25-point comeback against BYU was in the First Four, so it’s less legitimate. Nevada’s, it’s safe to say, ranks right up there with Texas A&M’s over Northern Iowa as the greatest in March Madness history.

Oh, and the Wolf Pack also came back from 14 points down in the second half to beat Texas two days earlier. Thirty-six points worth of second-half deficits overcome in a three-day span has to be some sort of record as well.

THE ACTUALLY INSANE: Eric Musselman

Even when he’s not shirtless in the locker room after games, he’s dropping F-bombs, entertaining us with lively interviews, and generally being a character.

THE HISTORIC: Top-seed ousters on the left

They’ve, uh, disappeared. Completely. On the left side of the bracket, both No. 1 seeds are gone. Both No. 2 seeds are gone. A 3 and 4 have been eliminated in the upper left quadrant as well, making the South the only region in tournament history to head to the Sweet 16 without a top-four seed.

The causes for the attrition have been multiple. Xavier, which lost to Florida State late Sunday night, was always an underwhelming top seed. So were Tennessee and Cincinnati. But North Carolina, the reigning national champs, ran straight into a talented Texas A&M buzzsaw. Virginia’s disintegration was completely unforeseen and unexplainable.

THE GOOD: Everybody else remaining on the left

One of the following teams will play for a national championship on April 2: Florida State, Gonzaga, Kansas State, Kentucky, Loyola Chicago, Michigan, Nevada and Texas A&M.

That’s not only eye-opening and remarkable; it’s a big reason why the three biggest winners of the weekend were Kentucky, Gonzaga and Michigan. The Wildcats and Zags in particular looked good on the court, but also got a ton of help elsewhere. Think about Kentucky: four days ago it was staring at a Final Four path of Davidson-Arizona-Virginia-Cincinnati. Now its looking at – or rather salivating at – Davidson-Buffalo-Kansas State-Loyola/Nevada. The toughest road to San Antonio, in four days, became the easiest.

THE INSANE: Jordan Poole’s dagger

The left half of the bracket would have been without both of its 3-seeds, too, if not for the shot of the tournament thus far.

And, without a doubt, the celebration of the tournament thus far.

THE GOOD: Mo Wagner’s sportsmanship

Poole’s shot, and the ensuing celebration, also gave us one of the most touching moments of the tournament thus far.

THE GOOD: Rob Gray

Poole’s shot was cruel on Houston, which played outstanding basketball the week prior at the AAC tournament, and brought the same high level of play to Wichita. But before Michigan could send them packing in heartbreaking fashion, the Cougars left their mark. Most of all, Rob Gray left his mark, putting up 62 points over two games, and earning Houston the second with a prolific final minute against San Diego State.

THE BAD: Arizona

It’s never a good sign for a program’s long-term future when it ends a season with more assistant coach arrests than NCAA tournament wins. Nor does it speak kindly of a coach to end a year with more future No. 1 overall NBA draft picks than NCAA tournament wins. In the non-Virginia category, no one-and-done NCAA tournament loss was more embarrassing than Arizona’s 21-point defeat at the hands of Buffalo.

THE BAD: Pac-12

And no conference had a more embarrassing postseason than the Pac-12, which only sent three teams to the Big Dance, saw two fall in the First Four, and saw the third bounced by a MAC school. Woof.

THE GOOD: Zhaire Smith dunks

The Big 12 had the most successful first weekend, with four of its 10 teams advancing to the second. One of those four is Texas Tech, whose gravity-defying freshman, Zhaire Smith, announced himself to the casual college hoops fan with two ridiculous dunks:

THE BAD: Isaac Haas’ injury

Texas Tech’s Sweet 16 opponent, Purdue, was dealt the most deflating injury blow of the first weekend when Isaac Haas fractured his right elbow falling to the hardwood against Cal State Fullerton on Friday. The Boilermakers survived without their 7-foot-2 center Sunday against Butler, and they’re be talk of a miraculous Haas return between now and the Tech game. But in all likelihood, the senior won’t play, and in all likelihood, his absence will undermine Purdue’s Final Four push.

THE BAD: Auburn-Charleston refereeing

There were relatively few refereeing controversies across the four days and 48 games. The only one marred by blatant, costly mistakes was Charleston’s upset bid on Friday night. The Cougars trailed Auburn by three with less than 10 seconds remaining. Grant Riller’s elbow was grazed as he elevated and attempted to tie the game. Whistles were silent. Then the refs sent the wrong Auburn player to the free throw line, a mistake that helped ensure the Tigers would advance to the second round – where they were destroyed by Clemson.

THE GOOD: Jon Elmore

From intramural ringer to flame-throwing NCAA tournament hero. What a story.

THE BAD (OR LEGENDARY, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT): Ot Elmore

Jon’s brother, though? His NCAA tournament wasn’t quite as glorious. He got off the Marshall bench for the first time in the second half of a blowout second-round loss to West Virginia. The play-by-play of his first minute of game action is absolutely legendary:

THE (HISTORICALLY?) BAD: Endless ends to games

The countless, excruciatingly long reviews in college basketball always ruin one or two tournament games per year. The final minute of game clock in Marshall’s upset of Wichita State took over 18 minutes of real time. That has to be some sort of record.

THE GOOD, BAD AND HISTORIC: Flukes

How, in the end, did those four days get this insane? This backwards? This upside-down?

Because flukes happen in basketball, and especially in college basketball, where 18-23-year-old kids aren’t above whims and wild fluctuations in performance. And no basketball skill is more susceptible to those wild fluctuations than outside shooting.

If there was one common thread through several of the stunning upsets, it was dreadful 3-point marksmanship from favorites. It wasn’t just Michigan State. North Carolina shot 6-for-31 from beyond the arc on Sunday. Virginia was 4-of-22 on Friday. Arizona was 2-for-18 on Thursday.

Their opponents in those games were 10-for-24 (Texas A&M, 42 percent), 12-for-24 (UMBC, 50 percent) and 15-for-30 (50 percent).

Bring all those numbers up or down to season averages, and all four favorites win the games.

That’s not an excuse for the favorites, or a fact meant to diminish the accomplishments of underdogs. It’s an explanation for the Madness of March; for the craziness of the past four days; for the beauty of basketball, which ensures that craziness will never desert us; and especially not on the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament.

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Henry Bushnell covers soccer and college basketball for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

More NCAA tournament coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Nevada stuns Cincy with comeback better than Pats over Falcons
Jim Boeheim uses controversial tactic to outcoach Tom Izzo and clinch upset
Michigan player stops celebrating to console heartbroken opponent
UMBC gets a special gift from Steph Curry before Kansas State game

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