Cheney Free Press -

By Grace Pohl
Staff Intern 

UMBC created the best story this season in March Madness

Crunch Time

 

March 22, 2018



So if you haven’t heard yet, or live under a rock, No. 16 seed University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) defeated a No. 1 seed University of Virginia 74-54 in the NCAA Tournament on March 16. This was the first time a men’s team had ever achieved the mark.

It was madness.

When the two teams were tied at halftime, I was surprised, but didn’t think the upset would actually happen. I didn’t even know what UMBC stood for before this game. But the Retrievers came out in the second half and just dominated. It wasn’t even a close game and I absolutely loved it.

My bracket on the other hand is totally busted thanks to Tennessee and a lot of other teams losing. But at that point of the game, I didn’t care about my bracket because I just loved the story that UMBC was laying out for all of us to watch.

What is even crazier is I had somebody in my household choose UMBC. Yes, my mother chose the Retrievers to defeat the No. 1 seed of the entire tournament. Everyone gave her a bad time when she submitted her bracket into our family competition, but now she has earned all our respect. I should also add that she chose Buffalo over Arizona and I am not kidding.

Before the game, UMBC’s Twitter account had just over 5,000 followers. As of press time on March 20, the social media platform had 107,600 (and I am one of those.)

That is just the beauty of this NCAA tournament. A school you have never heard of can become the most popular story just because they won one basketball game.

I also have to give credit to the mastermind behind the keyboard as they had me going back to check on their Tweets throughout the game.

I mean even their status update after their loss to Kansas State was pure gold:

“We hope to see all of you at our brand new $85 million event center in November for the season opener. Congrats Kansas State, good luck the rest of the way … and for those of you in HS, you can apply right here.”

The account also called out sports commentators and ESPN as whole that doubted that the school from Baltimore County could defeat Virginia. It also corrected people calling them Golden Retrievers. Apparently their mascot is really the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Who would’ve known?

Only around 500,000 people out of the 18 million chose UMBC in the ESPN bracket challenge, close to only 3 percent. My mom really should’ve submitted her bracket somewhere for money.

Even though this was obviously a huge upset in the tournament, it seemed like just the beginning. The second round was absolutely brutal for my bracket as three of my final four teams decided to ruin it all for me by losing. I am still a little bitter.

But I am still marveling over the upsets and comebacks during this insane event because it gives the smaller schools a good name for themselves.

So congratulations are in order to UMBC and their basketball squad for defeating Virginia and former Washington State University head coach, Tony Bennett.

That is just the beauty of March Madness. It truly is one of the best times in collegiate sports.

Grace Pohl can be reached at grace@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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