As most of the Banners staff and most of our significant others took in history tonight, the discussion swung to a what point the UMBC lead would be enough to make it feel possible. As everyone braced for the inevitable Virginia run, though, it just never came. A team that spent their season building the best defensive record ever surrendered 74 points to the 212th ranked offense in the nation.
Something like that may have necessary for the upset, but the 20 point deficit was a complete shock. Every close call in a 1/16 game before had featured the 16 scraping into it and then falling just short at the end. This was not that. Tied at the half, the Retrievers poured it on in the second half, scoring 53 points in the final 20 minutes. 13 times this season Virginia didn’t allow 53 points in an entire game.
Maybe it was the injury to DeAndre Hunter. Maybe it was because an offense that was used to playing at a stagnant pace found itself needing to produce points in a hurry. Maybe Virginia just ran into Jairus Lyles on a night where he’d been touched by God. Whatever it was that just happened, it was the first time in history that it had. From now on, every #16 seed is just trying to get in line behind UMBC.