The Sweetest 16 Seed – UMBC Takes Down #1

In this week’s edition of Assist Map Monday, we take a look at University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s (UMBC) stunning upset over top seed Virginia. On Friday, March 16, the UMBC Retrievers defeated the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlotte by a score of 74-54 to mark the first ever win for a 16 seed over a 1 seed in men’s college basketball.

The Retrievers used some incredible shot-making to defeat top-ranked Virginia in one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Entering the game, Virginia had not allowed more than 68 points in any game this season; however they allowed 74 in their loss to UMBC. Interestingly, even after their upset over Virginia, UMBC still ranks a mere 185th in adjusted offensive efficiency, while Virginia still ranks first in adjusted defensive efficiency. Virginia also only shot 23-56 from the field (41.1%) including a dreadful 4-22 (18.2%) from the 3-point line. Thus, this upset win is most likely the case of UMBC playing their absolute best game of the season and Virginia playing their absolute worst game of the season.

UMBC approximately matched their season average in points per game (73.9) and assists per game (15.5) in the win. In addition, they assisted on 16 of their 26 made field goals (61.5%), slightly higher than their season average of 58.2%. While their passing wasn’t the main source of success, they were able to knock down many contested (and some uncontested) shots throughout the game, leading to them shooting 26-48 from the field (54.2%) and 12-24 from beyond the arc (50%).

No player recorded more than three assists for the Retrievers on the game, although all seven players who played more than two minutes recorded at least one assist. Senior point guard K.J. Maura dished his three assists to Jairus Lyles, Arkel Lamar, and Joe Sherburne. Senior guard Jairus Lyles contributed with two assists to Arkel Lamar and one to Joe Sherburne. Finally, sophomore forward Arkel Lamar’s assists went to Jairus Lyles, Joe Sherburne, and Jourdan Grant. Because of their improbable performance against top-seed Virginia, UMBC will forever remain in the history books as the first 16 seed to knock off a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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