One Thing to Watch: The 2019 Sweet 16 provided enough memories to last into 2020
With the NBA, NHL, NASCAR and other major sports leagues and sporting events suspended or canceled, what better time to take a look back at some iconic sports moments? Each day, we’ll deliver One Thing to Watch.
March just doesn’t really feel like March without the NCAA Tournament.
Similar to other major sporting events, March Madness provides incredible levels of excitement and heartbreak – the only difference is it happens over the course of three weekends.
And with each passing weekend, our feelings get more involved.
If the NCAA Tournament was in full effect this season, Thursday would mark the beginning of the Sweet 16.
However, since we’re not going to get an opportunity to see the 2020 version of the Sweet 16 round, we’re going to look back at the 2019 Sweet 16, which provided some incredible moments.
5-seed Auburn upsets 1-seed UNC:
North Carolina entered the NCAA Tournament as a 1-seed and through its first two games, the Tar Heels certainly looked the part. But in the Midwest Regional semifinals, UNC ran into a buzzsaw in the form of the Auburn Tigers.
Coming off of a dominant victory over Kansas in the round of 32, Auburn blitzed UNC from the opening tip, draining 16 three pointers en route to a 97-80 victory and berth in the Elite Eight.
Purdue duo lights up Tennessee:
In the South Regional semifinals, the 2-seed Tennessee Volunteers and 3-seed Purdue Boilermakers provided an instant classic.
Tennessee fell behind early and found itself facing an 18-point deficit before rallying to force overtime.
But in the end, Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline combined for 56 points to send Purdue to the Elite Eight.
Zion Williamson and Duke survive Virginia Tech:
There wasn’t a more exciting player in college basketball than Zion Williamson during the 2018-2019 college basketball season, as evidenced by him being the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
But before that, he had to give his all to get 1-seed Duke past ACC rival and 4-seed Virginia Tech in the East Regional semifinals.
Other star Duke freshman Cam Reddish didn’t play due to a knee injury but it proved to not be costly for the Blue Devils, as they were able to survive and advance.
Virginia survives Oregon:
A year after becoming the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed, Virginia was looking for redemption in 2019.
But it wouldn’t come easy when 1-seed UVA faced 12-seed Oregon in the South Regional semifinals.
The game wasn’t pretty, with both teams shooting below 40 percent from the floor, but Virginia did just enough to advance to the Elite Eight.