Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
After a week of historic upsets at the 2018 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said the wild weekend was “almost like a revolution.”
Hamilton told reporters:
“I think what you see happening in college basketball, it’s almost like a revolution. What happens is, you start categorizing people by the reputation that their players get going into college. But in reality, kids are playing basketball all over the country and teams are getting better. Just because maybe they might not be in one particular conference or maybe they’re not considered to be one of the more traditional rich schools, people are playing basketball.
“See, sometimes the team that’s the most talented might not necessarily win the game. It’s the team that’s playing well at that particular time.”
Hamilton’s Seminoles, a No. 9 seed, pulled off a 75-70 win over top-seeded Xavier on Sunday. Xavier’s loss leaves the tournament with just two No. 1 seeds heading into the second week of the Big Dance, which is just the fourth time in history that has happened.
Virginia, the other No. 1 seed eliminated before the second week, became the first No. 1 to lose to a No. 16 seed Friday. UMBC was eliminated by ninth-seeded Kansas State on Sunday.
The South Regional features No. 5 Kentucky taking on No. 9 Kansas State and No. 7 Nevada facing off against No. 11 Loyola Chicago, the first time no top-four seed has made it to the Sweet 16 from a single region.
“I think that no matter who you are, 1-seed, 10-seed, 16-seed, that’s how you have to play this time of the year to advance, because the moment, the environment can start to be overwhelming if you start to think about that and not of the task at hand,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said.
Of course, this is more than likely a historical anomaly rather than a trend that’s going to continue. The top of men’s college basketball this season never felt especially strong. Elite teams spent most of the season in flux, with the top of the polls varying from week to week. For most of the campaign, Virginia was the most consistent team but entered the year unranked and had no go-to star.
Teams like Villanova, Duke and Kentucky, who had the most on-paper talent, remain in the tournament and appear to be peaking at the right time.