NCAA Bracket Update 2010: 10 Biggest Surprises of the First Two Rounds
The first two rounds of the 2010 NCAA Tournament provided some of the most eye-popping and surprising moments of the sports year.
From buzzer beaters to top performers to unexpected upsets, the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament had it all.
Now 16 teams head to the Regional Semifinals, but before we look ahead, we must take a look back at the 10 biggest surprises of the first two rounds.
Is Northern Iowa's upset over top-ranked Kansas the biggest surprise? What could possibly compete with Saturday night's upset?
Look inside to find out.
10. Purdue in the Sweet 16
Purdue was a highly ranked team throughout the regular season, but it appeared the Boilers' chances of a deep tournament run went up in smoke when star Robbie Hummel was lost to an ACL injury.
Couple that with Purdue's abysmal performance in a Big Ten Tournament loss to Minnesota, and many predicted, myself included, that Purdue was destined for a one-and-done showing in the field of 65.
Yet the Boilermakers hung tough. Purdue pulled away from a gutty Siena team in round one and dodged Texas A&M thanks to Chris Kramer's game-winning layup in the second round. Purdue's arrival in the Sweet 16 is still a surprise despite their seeding.
Now the Boilermakers, in light of their gutsy performances, are handed their toughest test yet: top-seeded Duke.
9. Washington in the Sweet 16
The Pac-10 was much maligned for the collective performance of the conference during the regular season. However, the performance of the Washington Huskies in the first two rounds shows the conference has some bite after all.
Washington escaped with an upset over Marquette in the first round before blitzing third-seeded New Mexico in a game that was barely competitive.
Washington next takes on second-seeded West Virginia in the East Regional Semifinals. Will the experience of taking down one Big East team in this tournament help the Huskies, or will their run end on Thursday?
8. Sparty Beats the Buzzer
No, Michigan State knocking out Maryland is hardly an upset. However, in this battle of two of the most successful programs of the decade, it was the way the Spartans ripped out the heart of the Terps that made it so compelling.
Greivis Vasquez's runner in the paint with six seconds left appeared to cap a 16-point Michigan State meltdown. Michigan State ignored its one remaining timeout and came right down the court, stunning Maryland with Korie Lucious' three at the buzzer.
Funny thing is that the shot almost didn't happen. If you watch the highlight, you can see Tom Izzo about to call timeout right before Lucious' shot goes up.
7. Big Red Runs Over Bucky
Cornell opened eyes when it dispatched fifth-seeded Temple in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. That set up a very interesting matchup with fourth-seeded Wisconsin in the second round.
Could the Badgers' notoriously tough defense slow down the in-and-out game of the Big Red?
The answer was a resounding no. Not only did Cornell continue its Cinderella run into the Sweet 16—becoming the first Ivy League team to do so in 31 years—but the Big Red did it in emphatic fashion. Cornell simply ran over a Wisconsin team that yielded its highest point total of the season.
We're used to seeing Wisconsin play games in the 50s, so to see the Badgers surrender 87 points was surprising to say the least.
Cornell certainly has its hands full with top-seeded Kentucky waiting in the Sweet 16.
6. Murray State Over Vanderbilt
Typically a No. 13 seed taking down a No. 4 seed is big news, except this time the No. 13 team was not your average low seed, and the No. 4 seed had a history of choking in the first round.
Murray State entered the NCAA Tournament with a 30-4 record and riding one of the longest win streaks in the nation.
We were shocked when Danero Thomas came up money at the buzzer to take down the fourth-seeded Commodores. However, we were not as surprised as we should have been considering it was only two years ago when No. 4 Vanderbilt was blown out by No. 13 Siena.
5. Villanova Escapes Its Nightmare
In hindsight, second-seeded Villanova's escape over No. 15 Robert Morris was a sign of things to come. The Colonials of Robert Morris gave Villanova ALL it wanted in what was suppose to be an opening-round cakewalk for the Wildcats.
It was anything but that, as Villanova needed overtime and the benefit of sketchy officiating to down Robert Morris 73-70 in the first time slot of the Tournament. We all know what happened next...
4. Sandman Puts 'Nova to Sleep
Omar Samhan quickly became one of the biggest stars of the NCAA Tournament, and for good reason. Samhan rocked Nova for 32 points in St. Mary's thrilling second-round upset of No. 2 Villanova.
The Gaels blew through the opening rounds like a force. Now it is up to Baylor to deny St. Mary's a trip to the South Regional Finals, but with a big man in the post in Samnhan and Mickey McConnell making it rain from the perimeter, there will be no stopping St. Mary's.
3. Big Least?
It was not supposed to be this way for the supposed best conference in the nation. Eight teams went in, but only two remain heading into the Sweet 16.
The fortunes of the Big East now rest with Syracuse and West Virginia after the flameouts of No. 2 Villanova, No. 3 Georgetown, and No. 3 Pittsburgh.
Syracuse has coasted through the first two rounds, and West Virginia is playing better ball with each passing half, but six Big East teams bouncing out after the first two rounds was not expected heading into the Tournament.
2. Ohio Over Georgetown
When a No. 14 seed takes down a No. 3 seed, it usually comes in dramatic fashion, but what Ohio University did to Georgetown was as shocking as anything in the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio, which was a number NINE seed in the MAC Conference Tournament, simply blasted Georgetown. The Hoyas seemed poised to make a deep tournament run after falling in the Big East Tournament championship game, but the Bobcats had none of that.
Ohio dropped 97 points on Georgetown—the highest regulation point total of the Tournament—in a 14-point victory that wasn't even that close.
Ohio was promptly bounced in the second round, but their first round trouncing of Georgetown was stunning to say the least.
1. Down Goes Kansas!
Nobody saw it coming. Top overall seed Kansas went down in a hail of three-pointers at the hands of No. 9 Northern Iowa.
In an epic bracket buster, the UNI Panthers, which were arguably under-seeded at 28-4 and undisputed Missouri Valley Conference champion, axed Kansas' hopes of two titles in three years.
Ali Farokhmanesh was stone-cold in drilling a three-pointer with 35 seconds left to send the Jayhawks packing and altering millions of brackets across the nation.