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The lower seeds showing heart in NCAA tournament so far
By Reel Robinson

High seeds are dropping like flies.

The weekend has not stopped the trend at all. The higher seeds have not done well in the tournament during the first three rounds. Big name schools have fallen, leaving the field wide open for anyone to take that national title. Top seeds were knocked out of the tournament yesterday, with Dayton defeating No. 3 Syracuse and UCONN handling No. 2 Villanova. There has been no room for error for any team this year, the competition is even across the board and if your team does not bring their A game they will be watching the rest of the tournament at home.

UCONN took the victory over old Big East rival Villanova who were the No. 2 seed in the East Region. Villanova struggled to end the season, but received a good seed for their body of work throughout the regular season. After the blowout win against No. 15 seed Milwaukee, Villanova fans had believed they were getting their mojo back. That came to screeching stop when they ran into a determined UCONN team. The Huskies led by AAC All American point guard Shabazz Napier put the team on his shoulders once again putting in 23 of his 25 points in the second half to lift his team to a 77-65 victory over the No. 2 seed. Shabazz looked like his old running mate Kemba Walker in the first two rounds of the tournament, giving Kevin Ollie his first tournament wins of his short head-coaching career. 

The No. 7 seed Huskies await the winner of the anticipated matchup between No. 6 UNC and the No. 3 Iowa State who lost one of their impact players (Georges Niang) in the second round against North Carolina Central to a broken left foot. The Cyclones will have to adjust in a major way to beat the Tar Heels. UNC is coming off a close win against Providence on Friday and will need another big game from freshman point guard Marcus Page to push pass the tough Cyclones. If North Carolina can keep the ball moving and the tempo in their favor they should be able to rack up enough points to defeat the depleted Cyclones. If UNC can pull off the W they will be another lower seed to knock out a higher seed before the Sweet 16. The No. 3 seeds have yet to fare well with Duke and Syracuse losing.

Dayton has come to the tournament and beat some big name schools in the country advancing to the Sweet 16 after defeating Syracuse yesterday. Dayton, who beat Ohio State in the second round, played much better and held on to take down the No. 3 seed Orangemen 55-53 in a nail biter. After starting the season with 25 straight wins, Syracuse seem to run out of gas late in the season losing five of their last seven games and an early round defeat to NC State in the ACC tournament. I actually picked Dayton on my bracket to upset both teams so there is no surprise on my end, but the Flyers await the winner of the No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 10 Stanford game for a Sweet 16 matchup.

Although the lower seeds have played extremely well so far as the tournament gets deeper and the pressure builds, I wonder if those small schools can sustain their momentum. I am a believer of a few squads like Dayton and UCONN and believe they can both continue their magic against their next foes. The competitiveness of this tournament is exciting and refreshing. Many of the fan favorite schools and players have struggled opening the door for a lot of players to step up and get some deserved recognition. Shabazz Napier looks to be on a mission and I am anxious to see how far he can bring his Huskies. Do you think any of the lower seeded teams can go to the Final Four or will their luck soon run out? Let me know what you think in a comment.

Sunday Matchups

East Region

No. 6 UNC vs. No. 3 Iowa State 2:15pm EST

No.1 Virginia vs. No. 8 Memphis 5:40pm EST

South Region

No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 10 Stanford 9:15am EST

No. 12 Stephan F. Austin vs. No. 4 UCLA 4:10pm EST

West Region

No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 8 Gonzaga 6:40pm EST

No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 6 Baylor 4:40pm EST

Midwest Region

No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 14 Mercer 3:10pm EST

No. 1 Wichita State vs. No. 8 Kentucky 11:45am EST

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