SIDELINES: this week in sports

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I’m not sure anyone could have imagined a first weekend of March Madness like the one we just had.

For the first time on the men’s side, a 16-seed knocked off a one-seed when UMBC (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) took down Virginia. Though UMBC fell to Kansas State in the round of 32, their win against Virginia will be one of the most memorable from this year’s tournament.

As fun as brackets are, I’m not sure anyone wants to look at their bracket after this opening weekend. Surprises? Nevada overcoming back-to-back nine point deficits at halftime certainly put a dent in many people’s brackets, at least for their game against Cincinnati.

Arizona being knocked out in the first round was surprising to me, I had Arizona in the elite eight, so my bracket was certainly busted there.

North Carolina losing in the round of 32 was another surprise, I wasn’t expecting Texas A&M to win by 21 points — I don’t think anyone was.

There’s a certain amount of upset that is expected each year, and a certain amount of upsets that people look forward to. But this past weekend was a bit too much madness. There were so many upsets, so many teams who went in with such promising regular seasons, and were sent home on day one of the tournament.

That’s the thing about playoffs in sports. Teams do earn their right to the playoffs, they earn their spots in these tournaments, but when it comes time to step onto the court, the ice, the field — there’s just something about the playoffs.

There were other notable playoff stories this past weekend, though. In NCAA women’s college hockey, the frozen four featured Ohio State and Colgate (both programs first trips to the NCAA tournament and frozen four), as well as defending national champion Clarkson and national powerhouse Wisconsin. All three games on the weekend went into overtime (Ohio State losing 1-0 in OT to Clarkson, Colgate winning 4-3 in 2OT against Wisconsin, and Clarkson winning 2-1 in OT in the championship game over Colgate). Colgate was a team that four years ago only won seven games all season. The women’s college hockey world has more parity than people think, and next season should be full o fmore new faces on the big stage.

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