Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
The Buffalo Bulls sure know how to earn their first NCAA tournament victory in school history in style.
Buffalo, the No. 13 seed in the South Region of the 2018 men’s NCAA tournament, destroyed the fourth-seeded Arizona Wildcats in Thursday’s first-round matchup 89-68. It was a stunning result for the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament champions, cutting short a tournament run many envisioned would last well into the later rounds.
Twitter naturally reacted to the shocker:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Everyone’s reaction after the Arizona loss. https://t.co/sTDdewNjAE
UB Men’s Basketball @UBmenshoops
What a win over Arizona 89-68! First ever NCAA Tournament Win! Next up the Kentucky Wildcats #UBDancing https://t.co/dpxbmAtFLF
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
*checks Arizona score* https://t.co/50w3j2eG4t
Buffalo largely used a three-man effort as Wes Clark (25 points and seven assists), Jeremy Harris (23 points and seven rebounds) and CJ Massinburg (19 points and six boards) were far too much for the Wildcats.
The combination also outshined potential No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, who put up a solid but unspectacular 14 points and 13 boards for the Wildcats in defeat.
CBS Sports noted the result busted plenty of brackets:
CBS Sports @CBSSports
92.8% of https://t.co/rcnu55JnAf Brackets had Arizona over Buffalo 60.5% had them in the Sweet 16 22.4% had them in the Elite 8 18.1% had them in the Final Four 11.1% had them in the National Championship Game 4.2% had them winning it all
This was an especially painful loss for Arizona as it is entangled in the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball, and the on-court games are no longer there to distract the fanbase following Thursday’s loss.
The FBI was fresh on the minds of some after the upset:
Reese Waters @reesewaters
Arizona’s press conference bout to be lit https://t.co/zI1L26160X
Jon Wilner @wilnerhotline
for Arizona, this sure felt like the end of much more than a season. – roster will be gutted – no signed recruits – Miller’s future in doubt – Richardson trial upcoming
This was not only a failure for Arizona but the entire Pac-12 conference seeing how Arizona State and UCLA each lost in the First Four games. The league doesn’t have a single team remaining in the 2018 NCAA tournament, and the first round wasn’t even half over at the end of the Wildcats’ loss.
ESPN Stats & Info and Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports put things into perspective for the conference:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
The Pac-12 is the fifth conference to go 0-3 or worse in the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985: 1989 SEC 0-5 1985 Pac-10 0-4 2018 Pac-12 0-3 2004 Mountain West 0-3 1990 WAC 0-3
Jeff Eisenberg @JeffEisenberg
Between the FBI ensnaring USC and Arizona, UCLA’s international incident in China and the disastrous on-court performance, the Pac-12 has just completed the worst basketball season ever for a power-six league
Things aren’t looking up for the Wildcats moving into the future, either:
Andrew Joseph @AndyJ0seph
No good way to spin that for Arizona, and it will likely get worse. Wildcats lose all five starters and have no incoming recruits.
Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello
Here’s Arizona’s projected roster for 2018-19 as it stands: Alex Barcello, Brandon Randolph, Dylan Smith, Emmanuel Akot, Ira Lee, Chase Jeter. That’s it. Six players returning, no current commitments.
Fabian Ardaya @FabianArdaya
A look at everyone coming back to Arizona next year: https://t.co/bgBFsh4fgq
Here is a look at the best of the rest of some of the reactions:
Wolf Blitzer @wolfblitzer
So proud of my @UBuffalo Bulls. They just upset Arizona and move on. Now that’s great news! https://t.co/kUV9WEHAa9
Yahoo Sports @YahooSports
Apparently, Buffalo’s new name is Arizona’s daddy. 😂 #MarchMadness https://t.co/RviwijSOpI
Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
Buffalo guard C.J. Massinburg: “I saw President Obama picked Arizona in his bracket. … Sorry President Obama, but I had to.” Buffalo guard Wes Clark then chimes in: “He should’ve picked the handsome guys.”
Buffalo now turns its attention toward a showdown with the fifth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats in the second round of the tournament.
If it is going to keep its Cinderella run alive, it will once again have to beat one of the best programs in college basketball history. John Calipari‘s squad looked up for the challenge during a tight victory over Davidson on Thursday.
However, if the Bulls drill 15 three-pointers again like they did against Arizona and swarm the Wildcats on the defensive side, they could find themselves in the Sweet 16 as tournament darlings.