The NCAA bracket results 2011 have defied many expectations. As of now, the bracket only has one No. 1 seed left, although there is room for a No. 8 and No. 10 seed. These results shouldn’t be that shocking in some respects because this season has been fairly chaotic and parity stricken. But when the NCAA tournament got under way, few could foresee that Butler and VCU would last longer than Pitt, Duke and Ohio State.
The latest upset to befall the tournament wasn’t as stunning as Pitt’s loss to Butler, or Duke’s loss to Arizona. However, Ohio State looked like the safest bet to win it all, until Kentucky knocked them off with a 62-60 upset in the East semifinal.
As the No. 1 overall seed, the Buckeyes were the most obvious favorite going in. They backed it up early by being the most dominant team in the bracket, in blowouts over Texas San-Antonio and George Mason. Friday night, they jumped out to an early seven point lead against Kentucky, but could never breathe that easily again.
Throughout the second half, no team had a lead greater than three points. With a half minute left, the Wildcats were up by 60-57, until a tying shot by the Buckeyes’ Jon Diebler. Yet for the second time in the tournament, Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight hit a go-ahead shot with seconds left to secure the latest March upset.
These results leave Kansas as the only No. 1 seed left in the bracket. So far, every top team other than the Jayhawks has fallen apart, including the other contenders in their region. As such, No. 9 Illinois is the highest seed they will face in the Southwest, as they take on No. 11 VCU for the regional title on Sunday. If they face Butler in the Final Four, they won’t face a team higher than No. 8 until the national title game.
All signs pointed to an Ohio State-Kansas championship match, given the Jayhawks’ easy route, and the Buckeyes’ dominance. Yet just as Pittsburgh and Duke were stunned into an early exit, the Buckeyes were taken out by a big underdog as well – although Butler, Arizona and Kentucky aren’t traditional underdogs.
Now the NCAA bracket has Kentucky vs. North Carolina for the East championship, Connecticut vs. Arizona for the West, Kansas vs. VCU in the Southwest, and Florida vs. Butler in the Southeast. It’s certain that virtually no one in America picked these results – and perhaps few people even predicted half of them.
The tournament heads for the Elite Eight, even though many of the elite teams from this season are already gone. Ohio State has become the biggest one of all to leave, although Kansas would match them, if they are eliminated before the national championship game.
ESPN- “NCAA Tournament Bracket – 2011”
SI.com- “Kentucky vs. Ohio State – Recap”
Yahoo Sports- “Amazing Brandon Knight shot puts Kentucky back in Elite Eight”