One of the best COVID-19 vaccine pictures in America simply is likely to be the 2 that went into Sister Jean’s arm.
On this case, fortunately, she didn’t have to attend lengthy. The eighth-seeded Ramblers have been lethal behind the arc and dominated the boards to drag away for a comparatively straightforward 71-60 win over No. 9 Georgia Tech. Loyola’s subsequent opponent, Midwest Regional No. 1 seed Illinois, is certain to offer a a lot stiffer take a look at of Sister Jean’s religion.
But her celebratory fist bump on the buzzer was one of many signature moments of the primary full day of an NCAA Match canceled a yr in the past due the pandemic. The time away hardly blunted the tourney’s fame for producing upsets, although to be honest, rating groups based mostly on a string of chaotic convention tournaments and a shortened common season — 20 p.c of video games wound up cancelled — was most likely extra hit-and-miss than standard.
The largest takedown was scored by No. 15 seed Oral Roberts, which wanted extra time to flee second-seeded Ohio State 75-72. That marked simply the ninth time in event historical past it occurred.
“We put our footwear on simply as the opposite workforce places their footwear on,” mentioned Kevin Obanor, who led Oral Roberts with 30 factors. “We simply had the mindset of, ‘Present us that you just need to be No. 2,’ and we got here out with lots of confidence.”
Not lengthy after, No. 13 North Texas registered its first tourney win by beautiful a second entry from the mighty Massive Ten Convention, fifth-seeded Purdue 78-69, and Oregon State claimed this yr’s first by-now acquainted 12-seed-over-a-No. 5 slot by handily beating Tennessee 70-56. Syracuse, an 11 seed, made a staggering 56% p.c (15 of 27) of its 3-point makes an attempt en path to burying No. 6 San Diego State 78-62.
That sport additionally produced a kind of father-son moments sports activities are so good at: Buddy Boeheim, who made seven of his 10 3-point pictures — together with one from the sting of half-court emblem — completed with 30 factors, one higher than the varsity report set by his father, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, within the 1966 event.
Lastly, No. 10 Rutgers pulled off a gentle upset over seventh-seeded Clemson, 60-56, whereas No. 9 Wisconsin’s 85-62 pasting of No. 8 North Carolina hardly certified as that, until you rely Tar Heels coach Roy Williams’ first-ever loss in a event opener.
Baylor and Houston, the opposite No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in motion, clobbered Hartford and Cleveland State, respectively. All the opposite larger seeds — Villanova, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma State and West Virginia — additionally gained.
Loyola guard Lucas Williamson, who scored a game-high 21 factors to ship the ACC Match-champion Yellow Jackets packing, was a freshman throughout Loyola’s magical run to the Ultimate 4 in 2018. A lot about this yr’s event is completely different, however the feeling of accomplishment was the identical.
“It feels so good, and I wish to really feel it once more,” Williamson started, smiling broadly.
However when the subsequent query took place taking part in Illinois — which drowned No. 16 Drexel 78-49 in a dunkfest earlier within the day — he obtained severe.
“Going to take every part we obtained. They’re among the finest groups within the nation,” Williamson mentioned. “That’s no secret.”
ORU wasn’t precisely a secret — it boasts the nation’s main scorer in Max Abmas — however solely 4.25 p.c of people that stuffed out brackets on the NCAA website picked them to oust the Buckeyes.
“After they rank them, it was solely only a quantity on the finish of the day,” mentioned Obanor, who scored seven of his 30 in extra time. Abmas added 29.
The Golden Eagles face one other tall activity after they meet No. 7 Florida. However Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann left little doubt how a lot better that was than the choice.
“Clearly, a extremely bitter finish to terrific season. We’ll personal that, settle for it and …” he paused, combating again tears, “we’ll transfer ahead.”