The NCAA nearly grounded one of the surprise teams from last year’s tournament.
The University of Dayton, which reached the Elite Eight in 2014, received the final spot in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, earning a home game against Boise State on Wednesday.
After the announcement, Dayton forward Dyshawn Pierre wrote on Twitter, “Wow,” followed by, “Home game it is.
“Let’s get it.”
The Flyers did, closing with a 10-2 run to beat the Broncos, 56-55, on Wednesday night and upsetting sixth-seeded Providence, 66-53, on Friday night to reach the round of 32.
But their run ended Sunday night in a 72-66 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma. Dayton led by nine points in the second half but also went nine minutes without scoring as the Sooners pulled away. Oklahoma will play Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
The Flyers (27-9), who weren’t the least bit intimidated given their takedown of Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford in last year’s tournament, didn’t deliver the only upset by an ASN-affiliated school.
On Thursday, UAB stunned No. 3-seed Iowa State 60-59, only the 19th time in 121 meetings a 14-seed beat a 3-seed, and many bracketologists were buzzing about other potential upsets. Harvard, Wofford and Valparaiso nearly delivered.
No. 12-seeded Wofford, coming off its best season ever — 28-6 record to capture the Southern Conference regular season title and tournament championship — gave Arkansas all it could handle in a 56-53 loss. According to an ESPN graphic, Wofford had a 23% chance to upset Arkansas.
Harvard, which made its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament trip, fell 67-65 to North Carolina. The Crimson’s Wesley Saunders, who finished with a game-high 26 points, missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Another Boston team had the misfortune of facing the team that defeated the Tar Heels for the ACC crown. Northeastern, making its first tournament appearance since 1991, lost 69-65 to Notre Dame, which downed Duke and North Carolina en route to a surprise ACC Tournament championship.
Though a No. 16 seed has never toppled a No. 1 seed on the men’s side, Lafayette was considered to have the best chance in this year’s tournament. But Villanova, the weakest of the four top seeds (Wisconsin, Duke and Kentucky are the other No. 1s) routed the Leopards 93-52.
On Friday, No. 2 seed Kansas bounced WAC champion New Mexico State, 75-56, in the Midwest Region and No. 2 Virginia pulled away from Belmont, 79-67, in the East Region.
Maryland, which set a school record for regular-season wins (27), and reaching the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, received a No. 4 seed but wasn’t eager to play Valparaiso, which also set a school record with 28 regular-season wins.
The Terrapins’ trepidation was justified — Maryand advanced only after fending off the Crusaders, 65-62.
Dayton was one of three Atlantic 10 tournament teams, with conference tournament champion VCU earning the seventh seed and Davidson getting a 10th seed. VCU, which defeated Dayton in the A-10 championship game, lost 75-72 in overtime to Ohio State in Thursday’s first round. Regular-season A-10 champion Davidson lost to Iowa 83-52 on Friday.
Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis hoped his team could get a higher seed than the 16th the Chanticleers got last year. But they got the same seed and on Friday lost 86-72 to Wisconsin, which won the Big Ten Tournament.
On Twitter, the Chanticleers’ account posted on Selection Sunday: “The Chants won’t have to play Kentucky until the Final Four.”
“Coastal Carolina is a really good 16th seed, as 16th seeds go,” CBS analyst Seth Davis said, “but they’re not going to win.”
UAB went out on Saturday, losing to No. 11-seeded UCLA, 92-75, and Dayton was bounced on Sunday.
But at least they were dancing.
Above: Valparaiso’s celebration by Valpo Athletics; Harvard coach Tommy Amaker cutting the nets after beating Yale by The Ivy League/Sideline Photos; Belmont’s celebration and Taylor Barnette (20) by Ben McKeown/Belmont Athletics; New Mexico State’s celebration by Mark Nessia/WAC; Lafayette’s celebration by Bill Lutzen/ASN; Northeastern’s celebration by the Colonial Athletic Association; Coastal Carolina’s Warren Gillis and Josh Cameron by Coastal Carolina Athletics; UAB’s celebration by Jimmy Mitchell/Hal Yeager for Conference USA; VCU’s celebration by Mitchell Leff/Atlantic 10 Conference; and Wofford’s celebration by Mark Olencki/Wofford College; photo illustration by Mike Bambach/ASN.