It doesn’t matter that the dream ended in the following round for the 16th seed NCAA basketball underdog University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers. Yes, they lost to Kansas State in a more predictable result than what happened in their opening round. And no, there will be Elite 8 or Final Four appearance. In fact, March Madness betting enthusiasts didn’t get their fill of being able to bet the ultimate dog. But this college basketball team accomplished something in one game that will forever change the way that we look at the annual tourney.
Retrievers upset Cavaliers
Prior to the Retrievers upset of the top seeded Virginia Cavaliers, 16 seeds were 0-135 for the NCAAB tournament. That’s right. Not even one upset had ever occurred. No fluke or last second shot or key injury that changed the outcome. Zip. Zero results. So naturally, I am sure that some casual fans didn’t even watch the game!
Not only did the Retrievers (boy, that is an awful team name) win, but they won by 20 points! It wasn’t even close. There wasn’t even any suspense, just the inevitable result.
This changes everything. A decisive win by a 16th seed questions everyone’s March Madness bracket strategy for the future. It turns college basketball betting on its side. The ultimate underdog CAN win. There IS a precedent.
Before the retrievers we didn’t really debate a 14th seed vs a 16th seed. But from here on in the decision-makers will be grilled perennially to ensure that they indeed seed all teams the right way.
But think about the basketball betting ramifications here; some books didn’t even receive wagers on the opening round NCAAB odds for UMBC. Moving forward, regardless of how good any future 16th seeds are, you can bet that someone somewhere will recall the success of the Retrievers and lay a few bucks down.
Brackets busted is an understatement.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.