For a moment, it seemed March Madness had lost its touch.
Heading into the Elite Eight, two No. 1 seeds and every prognosticators’ pick to cut down the nets next Monday in Arlington were well and alive in the NCAA tournament.
And not only were No. 1 seeds Florida and Arizona and chic national title pick Michigan State still dancing, all that stood in the way of a trip to the Final Four for the teams were a No. 11 seed, a No. 2 seed and a No. 7 seed.
Then March Madness became predictably unpredictable.
Florida dispatched Cinderella story Dayton on Saturday to open the Elite Eight, and that was the last time a higher seed won this weekend.
Wisconsin followed by surviving Arizona, one of the most complete teams in the country, in overtime to advance to the Final Four for the first time under head coach Bo Ryan.
Given the Badgers’ failings in the postseason under Ryan — seven exits in the first or second round in 12 NCAA Tournament appearances — it is hard to imagine anyone outside of Wisconsin trusted his team to live up to its No. 2 seeding.
Not only did the Badgers do that, they exceeded it, and now they head to Dallas as arguably the hottest team still playing.
But Connecticut will also have a say in that hottest team debate as the Huskies knocked off Michigan State in their home away from home, Madison Square Garden, to give head coach Kevin Ollie a good reason to return to his hometown of Dallas/Fort Worth.
UConn, however, isn’t your typical No. 7 seed.
In fact, the Huskies are the last team to beat No. 1 overall seed Florida this season.
Florida will try to avenge that Dec. 2 loss against UConn on the second biggest stage in college basketball.
Not to be outdone, No. 8 seeded Kentucky, which already sent home No. 1 seed Wichita State and defending national champion Louisville, completed its march to the Final Four by defeating No. 2 seed Michigan in the Elite Eight.
One might say Kentucky isn’t your average No. 8 seed, considering the Wildcats’ recruiting class this past season was lauded as the best since the Michigan Fab Five class of 1991.
But Kentucky sputtered at the end of the regular season, losing three of its last four, before going all the way to the SEC Tournament title game, where it lost by one to Florida.
A potential rematch is a game away, but who knows what two teams will be the last two playing this season next Monday.
While it seemed in doubt heading into the Elite Eight, the NCAA tournament proved once again this weekend that you can only expect the unexpected.
Contact Jordan Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7562â€‹