But Sunday was a feeding frenzy for the underdogs in this epic tournament as five top seeds went down one after the next.
Xavier, in the West region, became the second No. 1 seed to lose before the Sweet 16 this year — the first time that’s happened since 2004. The Musketeers joined Virginia, which was the first top seed to ever lose to a No. 16 team, falling to Maryland-Baltimore County on Friday.
That loss seemed to jolt the bracket. But Sunday made a total mess of it.
No. 2 seeds Cincinnati and North Carolina were eliminated, as were Michigan State, the No. 3 in the Midwest region, and Auburn, the No. 4 in the Midwest.
Xavier had a 12-point lead with 10 minutes 15 seconds to play, and a 7-point advantage with 5:30 remaining. But the ninth-seeded Seminoles closed the game with an 18-4 run in a 75-70 victory.
Down by 3 with seven seconds left, the Musketeers got an open look for Kerem Kanter, a 6-foot-10 center, who attempted a 3-pointer from the top of the key and airballed. They would hit just one shot from beyond the arc in the second half and had more turnovers (six) than points (4) in the final 5:30.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
ZACH SCHONBRUN © 2018 The New York Times