Photo Credit: nytimes.com
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (25-9) have knocked off the Michigan State Spartans (29-6) in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament by a score of 90-81.
The 15-2 seed differential is tied for the largest in terms of seeding upsets in NCAA tournament history, and has officially been called the biggest largest upset in terms of betting. 22.3% of all brackets picked the Spartans to win it all, and more money was put on them than any other team. This was the first 15-2 upset since the 2013 tournament went Florida Gulf Coast knocked off Georgetown.
Many people complained about Michigan State not getting a No. 1 seed, particularly since they beat the overall No. 1 seed Kansas at a neutral site, but now the world knows at least some of the reason why not. Traditionally, no matter their seed, Michigan State seems to go far in March. Last year they were a No. 7 seed, and that team was considered one of Tom Izzo’s (who many people think OWNS the March Madness tournament) least talented squads. They still went to the Final Four, only to be trounced by the champion-to-be the Duke Blue Devils. This year, with Wooden Award front-runner Denzel Valentine, the team failed to make it past the Round of 64 after winning the Big 10 championship over Purdue, who also bowed out in the Round of 64 after being upset by Arkansas- Little Rock.
Ultimately, Middle Tennessee made clutch shots, drew fouls, made clutch free throws (although missing a lot as well), and got good turnovers and blocks as well to seal the victory down the stretch.
Middle Tennessee will play No. 10 seed Syracuse on Sunday.