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Randy Hollis: Upsets abound and our brackets are busted

Published: Thursday, Sept. 3 2015 3:22 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this April 2, 1990, file phot, UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian chews on his towel while watching his Runnin' Rebels run over Duke University in the championship game of the Final Four in Denver. Tarkanian was in his element last weekend, watching UNLV from a courtside seat in the venue he helped build. As the NCAA tournament continues, the only question left about Tarkanian's legacy is why he's not in the Hall of Fame.  (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File) (Associated Press) FILE - In this April 2, 1990, file phot, UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian chews on his towel while watching his Runnin' Rebels run over Duke University in the championship game of the Final Four in Denver. Tarkanian was in his element last weekend, watching UNLV from a courtside seat in the venue he helped build. As the NCAA tournament continues, the only question left about Tarkanian's legacy is why he's not in the Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File) (Associated Press)

So, how's your NCAA tournament bracket looking about now?

Does it remind you of that ill-fated algebra test you took back in the ninth grade, when you slept through class most of the time and then, the night before the big exam, decided to watch the Utah Jazz game on TV instead of study?

Yeah, mine looks the same way — lots of red ink.

Saturday's stunning loss by Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, capped a couple of upset-filled days that were real bracket-busters for many of us — especially those of us who thought the 'Zags, who entered this year's national tournament as the top-ranked team in the nation, were the real deal and almost assuredly headed for the Final Four this year.

Instead, they were done in by a bunch of unheralded guys from Wichita State whose mascot, prophetically, is the Shockers.

Hey, that's why they call it March Madness.

The ninth-seeded Shockers certainly lived up to that nickname by knocking off favored Gonzaga 76-70 on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena. Shoot, not even the presence of legendary Jazz guard John Stockton, one of the greatest clutch performers of all time, could save the Bulldogs from an early tourney exit.

Stockton was there to watch his son, David, who's a Gonzaga guard like his daddy once was. Then again, let's face it, there's nobody who's a guard quite like his daddy once was.

And the 'Zags sure could've used ol' No. 12's stoic, always cool-under-pressure demeanor on Saturday night.

Ah, yes, March Madness. I mean, really, need we say more? And heck, we're not even through the first weekend yet.

But after the first few days of this year's tournament, we've already witnessed some seldom-seen stunners.

Like second-seeded Georgetown getting beat by somebody called Florida Gulf Coast, a lowly No. 15 seed who looked like anything but a stars-in-their-eyes squad just happy to be going to the Big Dance for the first time in school history. Instead, FGC (the snappy acronym for Florida Gulf Coast for those in the know, who never needed such an acronym before Friday's outcome), handled Georgetown 78-68.

What in the Hoya was going on there, anyhow?

FGC will face SDSU (that's San Diego State University for the acronymically challenged) in today's round of 32.

And in Thursday's opening round (even though the NCAA likes to call it the second round due to those "First Four" play-in games, unheralded Harvard, seeded 14th, sent third-seeded New Mexico reeling in another thriller.

California, a No. 12 seed, benefitted from having a near-homecourt advantage to eliminate fifth-seeded UNLV. Cal got to play its first two tourney games in San Jose, reportedly 46 miles from the Cal campus.

Oregon, also a No. 12 seed from the Pac-12, did itself proud by winning not one but two games — and both of them by double digts. The Ducks first dumped fifth-seeded Oklahoma State, then followed that up by beating Saint Louis, the No. 4 seed, in the second round.

That sends Oregon to next Friday's Sweet 16 as well, where the Ducks will go up against Louisville, a No. 1 seed that's actually playing like one, winning its first two games by a combined 57 points (a 31-point rout followed by a 26-point thumping).

For those of us who always cheer for the underdog, those rousing victories by Wichita State, Florida Gulf Coast, Oregon and Harvard might've messed up our brackets — but man, they sure were fun to watch. And, no doubt, there are more to come.

email: rhollis@deseretnews.com

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