The opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament was not madness. It was straight bonkers.
A No. 16 seed knocked off a No. 1 for the first time in 136 tries. Two No. 1s failed to get through to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004 and the fourth time overall.
Defending national champion North Carolina, gone. Loyola-Chicago and it super scout nun, Sister Jean, in.
And that was just the beginning. The regional round is up next. Whatever’s crazier than bonkers, that’s what we can probably expect.
Here’s what to look for:
Villanova. The No. 1 Wildcats have that look, the one they had winning the 2016 title.
Kansas. The other No. 1 still left looks pretty good, too.
Duke. Blueblood Blue Devils are back in the Sweet 16.
Michigan. The highest seed left on the left side of the bracket, the No. 3 Wolverines are on a roll.
Gonzaga. Don’t count the Zags out for another Final Four trip — they’re playing that well and have confident freshman Zach Norvell Jr. on their side.
West Virginia. Getting through Press Virginia and Jevon Carter will take mettle.
Texas A&M. The Aggies’ up-and-down season is trending the right direction at the right time.
Kentucky. The youngest team in basketball is long, athletic and, as usually is the case with Coach Cal’s teams, playing its best basketball late in the season.
Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 and may not be done.
Clemson. Shoot like they have so far, it’s going to be tough to stop these high-scoring Tigers.
Purdue. The Boilermakers found a way to beat Butler without Isaac Haas. Taking down Texas A&M might be a little more difficult if he can’t find a brace the NCAA is OK with.
Chicago-Loyola. The Ramblers wrecked brackets across the country and are rambling into the Sweet 16 with a 98-year-old nun on their side, so don’t count them out.
Nevada. Coach Eric Musselman has done a superb job his third season in Reno and could spoil the Ramblers’ run.
Syracuse. Those complaints about the Orange getting into the field of 68 dissipated quickly with wins over TCU and Michigan State.
Kansas State. The Wildcats crashed Maryland-Baltimore County’s dance party and have two NCAA Tournament wins despite playing without All-Big 12 forward Dean Wade (foot). He’s expected to return.
Florida State. Taking down No. 1 Xavier can’t be taken lightly and neither can the Seminoles.
Marvin Bagley III, Duke. A lottery pick next year, he could help the Blue Devils cut down the nets this year.
Jalen Brunson, Villanova. The national player of the year contender has teamed with Mikal Bridges to form an unstoppable duo.
Devonte Graham, Kansas. Need a big bucket, scoring, defense — whatever it takes, the Jayhawks’ senior guard provides it.
Jevon Carter, West Virginia. Built like an NFL fullback, he can shut down whoever you put in front of him. The match-up with Villanova’s Brunson could be the best of the Sweet 16, if not the entire tournament.
Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga. The player known as “Snacks” has been feasting on NCAA Tournament opponents.
Keenan Evans, Texas Tech. He makes the Red Raiders go.
Tyus Battle, Syracuse. He’s been carrying the Orange, but may need some help for them to advance.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky. Of all the Wildcats’ talented freshman, the 6-6 guard has been the go-to player in March.
Mo Wagner, Michigan. The German big man has a multi-dimensional game and creates match-up problems.
Caleb and Cody Martin. The transfer twins can do a little of everything, providing the Wolf Pack with a tough-to-defend 1-2 punch.
Matt Haarms, Purdue. He is going to be the key for the Boilermakers to advance with Isaac Haas injured.
Gabe DeVoe, Clemson. “Bobby Buckets” has been filling it up in March.
0_Perfect brackets picked through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. That UMBC victory over Virginia made sure of that.
5.31_Average seed of the Sweet 16 teams, highest since 2000 (also 5.31).
9_Number of the top 16 seeds gone from the bracket so far.
21_Years since Clemson last reached the Sweet 16.
30_Wins by Chicago-Loyola, most in school history, including the 1963 national championship team.
31_3-Pointers made by Villanova in its first two games.