Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to a 64-team format, No. 1 seeds were undefeated. On more than 130 occasions, top seeds took care of business against No. 16 seeds and, while there have been some scares over the years, it always felt at least somewhat safe to project the top four teams in the field advancing to the second round.
On Friday night, however, that changed forever, as UMBC put together a performance for the ages, taking it to No. 1 overall seed Virginia (while stunting on Twitter for all to see) and emerging with a stunning 74-54 victory. While the first No. 16 seed to pull off the upset was always going to come under scrutiny, nothing felt fluky about this particular result, with the Retrievers utterly dominating the action after halftime in wild and memorable fashion.
Early in the action, it felt as if it would be an uninspiring, yet ho-hum victory for Virginia, as the Cavaliers led out of the gate. Still, UMBC battled back to tie the game at 21-21 after 20 minutes and, coming out of the halftime break, the big run emerged.
The Retrievers zoomed to a 17-3 spurt to claim a 14-point lead with 15:52 remaining and, from there, the underdogs simply just kept making shots. In fact, it went beyond the typical upset model of a team with lesser talent making threes, as UMBC just kept finishing around the rim.