March Madness 2016: Top Social Media Highlights for Sunday's Round of 32

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2016

Notre Dame's Rex Pflueger, center, and Matt Farrell, left, celebrate with teammates after a second-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 20, 2016, in New York. Notre Dame won 76-75. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

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. 

Sunday's NCAA Tournament Scores
Villanova vs. Iowa87-68, Villanova
Notre Dame vs. Stephen F. Austin76-75, Notre Dame
Oklahoma vs. VCU85-81, Oklahoma
Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee State75-50, Syracuse
Maryland vs. Hawaii73-60, Maryland
Texas A&M vs. Northern Iowa92-88, Texas A&M (Double OT)
Xavier vs. Wisconsin66-63, Wisconsin
Oregon vs. Saint Joseph's69-64, 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:

Patrick Finley @patrickfinley

If we learned nothing from the Rose Bowl: Iowa can't be the only game on national TV. They can't be trusted.

Pick Six Previews served up some Rose Bowl-related humor as well:

Pick Six Previews @PickSixPreviews

Iowa having Rose Bowl flashbacks https://t.co/d8NEqhg2Pi

Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports was impressed with Villanova's defense:

Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops

Can't believe Villanova hasn't gotten teed up for playing seven guys. That's what it looks like on D anyway.

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:

Dana O'Neil @DanaONeilWriter

Monkey off back. Elephant outta the room. Albatross off neck. Pick a cliche. Villanova just obliterated all of them.

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:

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN

Villanova running Iowa out of the gym. Jay Wright’s team is different than in previous years. More balanced, two PG’s, great chemistry.

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:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Notre Dame's Rex Pflueger tips in the game-winner. Wow. https://t.co/JiZzv9oAlC

The end of Stephen F. Austin's tournament run didn't mean the end of references to wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Notre Dame moves past Stephen F. Austin! https://t.co/UQ9lUE0QSM

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:

Kevin Noon @Kevin_Noon

America loses

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:

James Grega Jr. @JGrega11

Pretty crazy Notre Dame is about to lose to its own mascot playing PG for the other team.

Former longtime Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Dufresne learned something new Sunday:

Chris Dufresne @DufRankman

Last week I thought SFA was an airport code....#MarchMadness

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:

Brian Hamilton @_Brian_Hamilton

Stephen F Lostin'

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:

Ryan Nanni @celebrityhottub

Damn, I was really rooting for “Oklahoma wins but Buddy Hield scores zero points and some third party cashes in big with his bookie."

One person who didn't seem to mind the halftime deficit was VCU's band director:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

VCU’s band director is LIT 🔥 https://t.co/imKIABSdvH

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:

CBS Sports @CBSSports

If you want to make your bench go crazy, throw down an alley-oop like this. https://t.co/zMVYamgiYs

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:

The Comeback NCAA @TheComebackNCAA

Buddy is ready for the NBA --- he grabbed the VCU player to create the appearance of being held on the cut. We call that THE JOHN STOCKTON.

NCAA March Madness implied Hield literally caught fire:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

Current status. #MarchMadness https://t.co/N93q6LEtmf

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:

Pat Forde @YahooForde

Some smokin' shooting in OKC. Buddy being Buddy -- which is why VCU kinda needs to quit leaving him open.

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:

Jim Weber @JimMWeber

Reminder: Michigan State gave up NINETY POINTS to this Middle Tennessee team.

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports summarized Middle Tennessee's weekend:

Jeff Eisenberg @JeffEisenberg

Middle Tennessee on Friday: The kid from Rookie of the Year after arm surgery. Middle Tennessee on Sunday: Just plain Henry Rowengartner.

At least the Blue Raiders have in-state bragging rights, via March Madness TV:

March Madness TV @MarchMadnessTV

Fun fact about Middle Tennessee... https://t.co/WmAiy0GhXG

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:

Matt Barnes @Matt_NBC4

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

Maybe he was on to something:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Everything was going right for No. 10 Syracuse today #MarchMadness https://t.co/dOty1vbyNf

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:

247Sports @247Sports

The ACC breaks the record for most teams in the #Sweet16 as #Syracuse is the sixth team in! https://t.co/u5mdFhxjeI

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:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Terps bounce Hawaii from the tournament! https://t.co/ygHVjxuOCM

Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com got in on the fun:

Roch Kubatko @masnRoch


So did SB Nation:

SB Nation @SBNation

The Maryland Terrapins are headed to the Sweet 16! https://t.co/euB6mOHBWj

The official Maryland account passed along a rather terrifying turtle for the rest of the field to fear after the win: 

Maryland Terrapins @umterps


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:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

Texas A&M erased a 12-point deficit in 35 seconds!! #MarchMadness https://t.co/Jp30IGhGOS

NumberFire put Northern Iowa's collapse into statistical perspective:

numberFire @numberFire

Here it is. 99.99%. This is an all-time sports collapse. Bar none. https://t.co/A3f1iUlkXW

The more exuberant Texas A&M fans essentially needed air after their team's comeback was complete:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Mood #ThisIsMarch #MarchMadness https://t.co/lgWR1xEvOp

ESPN Stats & Info pointed out Danuel House put his team on his back when it mattered most:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Danuel House (Texas A&M): scored all 22 of his points in final 5:14 of regulation and overtime periods

Gordy summed things up:

gordon @airgordonnn

.@FishPondTAMU https://t.co/gZqQGHiE7h

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:

Chris Cillizza @CillizzaCNN

Sometimes in life you're Northern Iowa on Friday night. Other times you're Northern Iowa on Sunday night.

ESPN's Michael Wilbon had some sympathy for the losing side:

Michael Wilbon @RealMikeWilbon

I think I feel worse for Northern Iowa than I've ever felt for a college basketball team in the context of mere competition...

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:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Watching that Wisconsin buzzer-beater like https://t.co/2JyECukVty

Former Wisconsin player Frank Kaminsky was loving every second of the shot:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Frank the Tank is a happy Badger today! #OnWisconsin (via @imdtf24) https://t.co/O6I1q6aVGh

Koenig had some inspiration, as Wilbon shared after the game:

Michael Wilbon @RealMikeWilbon

Wisconsin's Bronson Koenig, line of the night: "I tried to channel my inner Steph Curry." Damn right! Not one but TWO dagger shots.

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:

NBC Sports @NBCSports

Bill Murray is the saddest Xavier fan. #MarchMadness https://t.co/vmZ2BKv8tt

ESPN Stats & Info highlighted the fact a top-two seed has not suffered such a cruel fate for quite some time:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

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.

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:

Stadium @WatchStadium

The Ducks are #Sweet16 bound! No. 1 Oregon narrowly defeats No. 8 St. Joe's, 69-64. https://t.co/6FKcTkAgso

SB Nation CBB pointed out the Ducks are the only thing the Pac-12 still has going for it after the first two rounds:

SB Nation CBB @SBNationCBB

Oregon survives! https://t.co/rGGdRsp1sg

For Eisenberg, the great finish to this game was a microcosm of an incredible first two rounds of the tournament:

Jeff Eisenberg @JeffEisenberg

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.

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports was thoroughly satiated after the Oregon win:

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

Can't remember a more enjoyable opening weekend start to finish. Whole lot of bracket carnage, but all four No. 1s survive.

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.