Will UMBC make NCAA tournament history in their matchup against ACC powerhouse and top overall seed Virginia Cavaliers?
The No. 16 seed UMBC Retrievers have a shot at March Madness history as they face off against top overall seed Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
A No. 16 seed team has never beat a No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament history. However, most recently, the Virginia basketball team endured a scare in the 2014 NCAA tournament after No. 16 seeded Coastal Carolina was tied with top-seeded Virginia with eight minutes remaining.
A 16 seed has never beaten a number 1 seed despite few competitive matches in the past. This is typically the pick that when you are filling out your brackets, there is no debate into who is going to win. So far, this is how the results have played out for the one vs. 16 matchups.
- No. 1 Kansas over No. 16 Pennsylvania: 76-60
- No. 1 Villanova over No. 16 Radford: 87 – 61
- No. 1 Xavier vs. No. 16 Texas Southern: 7:20 p.m. ET (TBS)
- No.1 Virginia vs. No.16 UMBC: 9:20 p.m. ET (TNT)
Let’s take a look at the make-up of UMBC and why they have what it takes to make NCAA history in pulling off the upset!
1. UMBC Basketball is Battle Tested
The beginning of the season started with tough road matches against previous NCAA tournament teams in SMU and at the time ranked No. 3 overall Arizona.
The Retrievers took to halftime a 45-38 lead against SMU. By the 4:40 mark in the second half, UMBC was down 65-66 until SMU pulled away and sealed the victory.
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Two days later, UMBC would face future NBA lottery picks in DeAndre Ayton and Allonzo Trier of Arizona in front of 13,496 fans and deliver a great fight. UMBC was down 55-58 with 17: 47 remaining in the second half before Arizona showed their power and went ahead for the win.
The issue in both of these games was putting two solid halves together which would be a lesson the team would learn as the season would progress. UMBC will not be intimated in playing a top-notch team in a large basketball arena because they have done this before.
Lastly, the UMBC basketball team took a 24-18 halftime lead on the road against Maryland basketball earlier this season. The Terps would outscore the Retrievers 48-21 in the second half to pull away for the 66-45 victory.