The 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament has just begun, but the chaos has already started courtesy of the Furman Paladins.
The Paladins, a 13-seed in this year’s tourney, knocked off the No. 4 seed Virginia Cavaliers in a wild 68-67 contest. After being down by 12 with 11:31 left in the game, Furman rallied back to make it a two-point game with seconds left in regulation. Paladins forward Garrett Hien stole a UVA pass and passed it to guard JP Pegues, who sank a game-winning 3-pointer with just over two seconds left. Virginia guard Reece Beekman missed his last-second 3-pointer, sealing the upset victory for Furman.
Thursday’s loss could feel like deja vu for many Cavaliers fans. Exactly five years ago, Virginia — a No. 1 seed, lost to the No. 16 UMBC Retrievers 74-54 in the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament, the first time ever a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 seed. Since UVA’s 2019 championship, it has not made it past the first round of the tourney (there was no tournament in 2020 because of COVID-19).
After the Paladins’ huge win, stars flocked to social media to offer their opinions on the game and their brackets:
The Paladins’ win busted a lot of brackets. According to ESPN Stats and information, only 8.25% of ESPN’s Tournament Challenge brackets remain perfect after the contest.
New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, Los Angeles Sparks guard Lexie Brown and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward all faced the reality of their imperfect brackets after Furman’s upset.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and former WNBA star Renee Montgomery were impressed by Furman’s performance. Former NFL wide receiver Dez Bryant was among the viewers who foresaw UVA’s demise.
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