College basketball is often full of intense, unpredictable action. The whole appeal of March Madness is the potential for a big upset by a relatively unknown program. On Saturday night, we got a preview of just how crazy the upcoming tournament can be, with Gonzaga taking part in a historic yet embarrassing day.
Gonzaga, the Associated Press’ top-ranked college basketball team, lost to 23rd-ranked Saint Mary’s, 67-57. What’s crazy about the Bulldogs’ loss, though, is that they were the seventh team ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll to lose, the most in NCAA history. (via ESPN Stats and Info)
MAKE THAT 7
No. 23 @saintmaryshoops defeats No.1 Gonzaga 67-57.
It's the most losses by the AP Top-10 on a single day all-time. https://t.co/89ENVuqyLa
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 27, 2022
Aside from Gonzaga, the other top teams that lost were Purdue, Arizona, Kansas, Texas Tech, Auburn, and Kentucky. Aside from Kansas (who lost to 10th-ranked Baylor, 80-70), most of these were losses to teams way down in the rankings or not even ranked at all. It’s a crazy moment in history that showcases the appeal of NCAA basketball.
With consensus top NBA prospect Chet Holmgren struggling mightily, Gonzaga couldn’t overcome the Saint Mary’s attack. Big games from their backcourt weren’t enough to save them, as a relatively balanced attack destroyed them completely.
This insane day of games is a precursor to the wild nature of March Madness. Gonzaga, as well as the other top-10 teams, need to take this day as a reminder of their basketball mortality. Just one bad game, or ill-advised preparation and scouting, and your collegiate season will be done in a flash. The cutthroat nature of the NCAA Tournament can make or break players and programs.