It's unfair that this all has to end.
The opening two rounds of the 2016 NCAA tournament were more than even the most optimistic fans could have hoped for, with double-digit seeds pulling off upsets, half-court game-winners at the buzzer and the emergence of superstars who will go down in March Madness lore.
What's more, social media was there to soak it all in and keep Big Dance enthusiasts connected throughout the action.
With that in mind, here is a look at the scores from Sunday's second round, as well as social reaction for each game.
|Villanova vs. Iowa||87-68, Villanova|
|Notre Dame vs. Stephen F. Austin||76-75, Notre Dame|
|Oklahoma vs. VCU||85-81, Oklahoma|
|Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee State||75-50, Syracuse|
|Maryland vs. Hawaii||73-60, Maryland|
|Texas A&M vs. Northern Iowa||92-88, Texas A&M (Double OT)|
|Xavier vs. Wisconsin||66-63, Wisconsin|
|Oregon vs. Saint Joseph's||69-64, Oregon|
Villanova 87, Iowa 68
Sunday's game between Villanova and Iowa was never truly in doubt, as the Wildcats took a 54-29 halftime lead and put things in cruise control on the way to an 87-68 victory.
Some were having flashbacks to Iowa's 45-16 blowout loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl, including Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
If we learned nothing from the Rose Bowl: Iowa can't be the only game on national TV. They can't be trusted.— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) March 20, 2016
Pick Six Previews served up some Rose Bowl-related humor as well:
Iowa having Rose Bowl flashbacks pic.twitter.com/d8NEqhg2Pi— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) March 20, 2016
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports was impressed with Villanova's defense:
Can't believe Villanova hasn't gotten teed up for playing seven guys. That's what it looks like on D anyway.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 20, 2016
The victory also meant the Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009, which prompted this take from Dana O'Neil of ESPN:
Monkey off back. Elephant outta the room. Albatross off neck. Pick a cliche. Villanova just obliterated all of them.— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) March 20, 2016
ESPN's Jeff Goodman said fans shouldn't lump this season's Villanova team in with those in recent memory that lost in the round of 32:
Villanova running Iowa out of the gym. Jay Wright’s team is different than in previous years. More balanced, two PG’s, great chemistry.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 20, 2016
Notre Dame 76, Stephen F. Austin 75
Notre Dame and Stephen F. Austin rewarded fans who sat through the Villanova and Iowa blowout with arguably the most entertaining game of the tournament. The Fighting Irish and underdog Lumberjacks battled back and forth throughout the contest before freshman guard Rex Pflueger connected on the winning tip-in in the waning seconds:
Notre Dame's Rex Pflueger tips in the game-winner. Wow. https://t.co/JiZzv9oAlC— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 20, 2016
The end of Stephen F. Austin's tournament run didn't mean the end of references to wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin:
Notre Dame moves past Stephen F. Austin! https://t.co/UQ9lUE0QSM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 20, 2016
Kevin Noon of BuckeyeGrove.com said what many were thinking when the Lumberjacks' Cinderella magic ran out in the final seconds of Sunday's contest:
America loses— Kevin Noon (@Kevin_Noon) March 20, 2016
Before the clock struck midnight, the Lumberjacks made quite the impression. Bearded star Thomas Walkup bore a startling resemblance to the Irish's leprechaun on the way to 21 points, as James Grega Jr. of Scout.com realized:
Pretty crazy Notre Dame is about to lose to its own mascot playing PG for the other team.— James Grega Jr. (@JGrega11) March 20, 2016
Former longtime Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Dufresne learned something new Sunday:
Last week I thought SFA was an airport code....#MarchMadness— Chris Dufresne (@DufRankman) March 20, 2016
Even with plenty of supporters on their side, the Lumberjacks ultimately didn't have enough at the end. Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated couldn't help himself when it came to a little wordplay:
Stephen F Lostin'— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) March 20, 2016
Oklahoma 85, VCU 81
Oklahoma was in full control throughout the first half but let VCU back in the game. Eventually, the presence of Buddy Hield was too much for the Rams, and the Sooners escaped with the 85-81 victory.
The Sooners took a 44-31 lead into the locker room, but the superstar Hield was relatively quiet early. Ryan Nanni of SB Nation was hoping Hield would be held scoreless:
Damn, I was really rooting for “Oklahoma wins but Buddy Hield scores zero points and some third party cashes in big with his bookie."— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) March 20, 2016
One person who didn't seem to mind the halftime deficit was VCU's band director:
VCU’s band director is LIT 🔥 https://t.co/imKIABSdvH— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 20, 2016
A Rams second-half charge made things interesting, but the Sooners bench was ready to dance all the way to the Sweet 16, as CBS Sports highlighted:
If you want to make your bench go crazy, throw down an alley-oop like this. https://t.co/zMVYamgiYs— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 20, 2016
Hield caught fire in the second half on the way to 36 total points, but The Student Section took note of a unique strategy during the contest:
Buddy is ready for the NBA --- he grabbed the VCU player to create the appearance of being held on the cut.— The Student Section (@TheStudentSect) March 20, 2016
We call that THE JOHN STOCKTON.
NCAA March Madness implied Hield literally caught fire:
Ultimately, the Rams couldn't stop the Oklahoma sharpshooter, and Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports had a novel idea for future opponents who square off with the Sooners:
Some smokin' shooting in OKC. Buddy being Buddy -- which is why VCU kinda needs to quit leaving him open.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) March 20, 2016
Next up for Hield? The Sweet 16.
Syracuse 75, Middle Tennessee 50
The tournament's biggest Cinderella story ended Sunday, as No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee bowed out against Syracuse, 75-50.
Jim Weber (formerly Lost Letterman) still couldn’t believe Michigan State lost to the Blue Raiders:
Reminder: Michigan State gave up NINETY POINTS to this Middle Tennessee team.— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) March 20, 2016
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports summarized Middle Tennessee's weekend:
Middle Tennessee on Friday: The kid from Rookie of the Year after arm surgery. Middle Tennessee on Sunday: Just plain Henry Rowengartner.— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) March 20, 2016
At least the Blue Raiders have in-state bragging rights, via March Madness TV:
Fun fact about Middle Tennessee... pic.twitter.com/WmAiy0GhXG— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 20, 2016
While Syracuse clinched its spot in the Sweet 16 with the win, Matt Barnes of NBC 4 in Columbus, Ohio, thought the Orange were rather fortunate:
Syracuse gets MTSU in 2nd round. UCLA got UAB last year. Always nice to get some bracket luck to make it seem you did something good— Matt Barnes (@Matt_NBC4) March 20, 2016
Maybe he was on to something:
The Orange may have had Lady Luck on their side, but their conference has made quite the impression in this year’s Big Dance, as 247Sports shared:
It’s the ACC’s world right now, and the rest of the conferences are living in it.
Maryland 73, Hawaii 60
The Maryland Terrapins needed a strong second half, but they overcame a challenge from Hawaii and emerged with a 73-60 victory.
Despite the loss, the Rainbow Warriors were only down one at halftime and had plenty of local flavor in the crowd, as ESPN College BBall shared:
However, the Terrapins staved off the underdogs and inspired plenty of turtle-themed reactions on the Internet in the process. Best of luck escaping the red shell:
Terps bounce Hawaii from the tournament! https://t.co/ygHVjxuOCM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 21, 2016
Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com got in on the fun:
🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) March 21, 2016
So did SB Nation:
The Maryland Terrapins are headed to the Sweet 16! pic.twitter.com/euB6mOHBWj— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 21, 2016
The official Maryland account passed along a rather terrifying turtle for the rest of the field to fear after the win:
Texas A&M 92, Northern Iowa 88 (Double OT)
The box score says Texas A&M beat Northern Iowa in double overtime, 92-88, but that doesn't even begin to describe what happened.
The Aggies came roaring back from a double-digit deficit in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime. NCAA March Madness captured the final basket before the extra periods:
NumberFire put Northern Iowa's collapse into statistical perspective:
Here it is. 99.99%. This is an all-time sports collapse. Bar none. pic.twitter.com/A3f1iUlkXW— numberFire (@numberFire) March 21, 2016
The more exuberant Texas A&M fans essentially needed air after their team's comeback was complete:
ESPN Stats & Info pointed out Danuel House put his team on his back when it mattered most:
Danuel House (Texas A&M): scored all 22 of his points in final 5:14 of regulation and overtime periods— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 21, 2016
Gordy summed things up:
Chris Cillizza harkened back to Northern Iowa's elation after its Friday night victory on a half-court heave at the buzzer and compared it to Sunday's emotions:
Sometimes in life you're Northern Iowa on Friday night. Other times you're Northern Iowa on Sunday night.— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) March 21, 2016
ESPN's Michael Wilbon had some sympathy for the losing side:
I think I feel worse for Northern Iowa than I've ever felt for a college basketball team in the context of mere competition...— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) March 21, 2016
Wisconsin 66, Xavier 63
Northern Iowa wasn't the only team that had its heart broken Sunday. Xavier lost a late lead and then watched Bronson Koenig drill a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to give Wisconsin the 66-63 victory:
Watching that Wisconsin buzzer-beater likehttps://t.co/2JyECukVty— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 21, 2016
Former Wisconsin player Frank Kaminsky was loving every second of the shot:
Koenig had some inspiration, as Wilbon shared after the game:
Wisconsin's Bronson Koenig, line of the night: "I tried to channel my inner Steph Curry." Damn right! Not one but TWO dagger shots.— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) March 21, 2016
As for Xavier, actor Bill Murray's son is an assistant coach for the team. Safe to say, the movie star didn't take the loss well, via NBC Sports:
ESPN Stats & Info highlighted the fact a top-two seed has not suffered such a cruel fate for quite some time:
Xavier: 1st time that a top-2 seed has lost on a buzzer-beater since Christian Laettner hit the shot to beat Kentucky in the 1992 Elite 8.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 21, 2016
Oregon 69, Saint Joseph’s 64
Oregon nearly became the first No. 1 seed to lose in this year's tournament when it trailed Saint Joseph's late in the game, but it used a last-minute spurt to earn a spot in the Sweet 16 with a 69-64 victory.
120 Sports referenced another famous Ducks team:
SB Nation CBB pointed out the Ducks are the only thing the Pac-12 still has going for it after the first two rounds:
Oregon survives! pic.twitter.com/rGGdRsp1sg— SB Nation CBB (@SBNationCBB) March 21, 2016
For Eisenberg, the great finish to this game was a microcosm of an incredible first two rounds of the tournament:
This Oregon-St. Joes game is fantastic, and it might need to go a half dozen OTs to top what we've already seen tonight.— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) March 21, 2016
Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports was thoroughly satiated after the Oregon win:
Can't remember a more enjoyable opening weekend start to finish. Whole lot of bracket carnage, but all four No. 1s survive.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 21, 2016
Somehow, college basketball fans have to make it all the way to Thursday for the next round of this thrilling NCAA tournament.
Check out Bleacher Report's live updating bracket to track your picks along the road to the Final Four.