Bracket Buster: Stephen F. Austin

It wouldn’t be March Madness without a few upsets to demote everyone’s golden ticket of a bracket to kindling, and this tournament is no exception.Clarion Call Logo

For a look at the latest bracket, click here.

It is hard enough to pick a perfect bracket without the pesky low-ranked seeds messing it up.

According to Google, your odds of filling out a perfect bracket is 1 in 9.2 quintillion, and it’s almost impossible to pick every game correctly.

There were a lot of shocking victories in the round of 64 teams, but I was most surprised by Stephen F. Austin.

SFA won the Southland Conference, and if you knew that was a conference, then quit lying because no you didn’t.

SFA was 18-0 in conference play, but were 27-5 in the regular season with two losses against other tournament teams.

It was safe to say that West Virginia University, the eighth best team in the nation, would be able to send the Southland champs home early in the tournament.

This makes it even more surprising when Stephen F. Austin beat WVU by 14 points.

While West Virginia out-rebounded the Lumberjacks by 15 total rebounds, SFA forced the Mountaineers to commit 22 turnovers.

The SFA defense also held WVU to shooting 18.8 percent from deep.

Its defense was complimented by its 30.4 percent accuracy from three-point land.

On top of that, West Virginia, the team that led the nation in steals and averaged 14 turnovers per game, only forced SFA into seven turnovers all game, and they gave up 70 points to the Lumberjacks.

However, the most surprising thing about this team was that its Cinderella run almost took another big name team down.

SFA almost knocked off Notre Dame, my sleeper pick in the tournament.

Notre Dame was victorious, 76-75, by fortunately tapping in the game winner with 1.5 seconds remaining.

SFA shot over 45 percent in that game, a number that might have gotten the win if Notre Dame hadn’t made over half of its shots.

SFA still got out-rebounded, but this time by four, and also won the turnover battle between the Fighting Irish, causing ND to commit 13 turnovers, while only giving up the ball six times.

The most shocking fact about this game is that the Irish took a one point lead into halftime, 42-41, making the second half scores tied at 34 points apiece.

Like I said, there were a lot of beautifully chaotic upsets this year.

In fact, 10 teams that rank from the 10-16 spot beat the highly favored opponents.

Although, I don’t think anyone saw SFA’s performance coming.

This is the team that was ranked 21st in scoring per game and tied for 17th in the whole nation this season.

They averaged 80.7 points per game on .484 percent shooting.

With SFA being in the Southland conference, it was overlooked all season, unless that was someone’s alma mater.

Regardless of the conference, it definitely gave the world of college basketball quite a show in March.

Take a bow, SFA.

Watch your step on the way out, though.

There are a lot of pieces of shattered brackets on the floor.

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