Well, we weren’t expecting that one. Well not all of us. 12th seed Middle Tennessee just rolled on past their 5th seed opponent, the Minnesota Gophers in the first round of #MarchMadness. This served as the first NCAA upset in this years tournament.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders came into Milwaukee, hosted by Marquette University, to win and did just that. Dominated against Minnesota in a 81-72 game. The teams started out neck and neck, only until, the 12th seed team started to build the momentum and applying pressure to get a 17-point lead in the second half. That, and holding the Gophers off during a few of their scoring attempts to put a number on the board. Blue Raiders shooting about 53% from 3-point range and being a ball hog for the rebounds did nothing but increase their chances at playing on the Milwaukee court once again.
This was an upset in the rankings, however MTSU was actually the favorites by many in Vegas to win this match-up. This was a game that, in a number of fan brackets, was selected to be an “upset”. Why the Gophers were given the 5th seed is an unanswered question. Finished 4th in the Big-10 and lost to Michigan, but still ended up the conferences’ second highest seed.
And the absence of Akeem Springs, teams’ top scorer, just made things worse on Minnesota’s side of the ball. Springs was out due to a torn ACL injury that happened in the conference tournament.
No credit taken from the Blue Raiders, they are a squad full of underrated ballers. They came back even harder than last year in the tournament. Coming back with two returning top scorers, who contributed to the upset against Michigan State in the first round. Now, second round in the South Region, 4th seed Butler is up next on Middle Tennessee’s list.
Tune in for (4) Butler vs. (12)Middle Tennessee
Where: Milwaukee, WI (Hosted by Marquette University)
Date: March 18/19