Every year, a lower ranked team emerges as the new “Cinderella” story by overcoming the odds and advancing deep into the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Last year, Florida Gulf Coast University stunned the world by reaching the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed. But this year the “Cinderella” slipper belongs to No. 11 seed Dayton, who upset No. 3 Syracuse, 55-53, in the South Region of the Round of 32 on March 22 in Buffalo, N.Y.
Many expected Dayton to upset No. 6 seed Ohio State in the Round of 64. But beating a powerhouse like Syracuse was a far more challenging feat, which Dayton pulled off with a nail-biting, last-second victory. Syracuse star freshman guard Tyler Ennis almost changed Dayton’s luck when he tossed a Hail Mary three-pointer at the buzzer that would have given Syracuse the win. But Ennis’ trey-ball rimmed out, sending the Orangemen home as losers.
“We have a good program with great tradition,” Dayton head coach Archie Miller said after the game. “Now, we have the ability to build, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Dayton will play in its first Sweet 16 game since 1984 on March 29, when they face the winner of the March 23 matchup between No. 2 Kansas and No. 10 Stanford.
Other scores from March 22 include:
No. 1 Florida defeated No. 9 Pittsburgh, 61-45
No. 2 Michigan defeated No. 7 Texas, 79-65
No. 4 Louisville defeated No. 5 Saint Louis, 66-51
No. 4 San Diego State defeated No. 12 North Dakota State, 63-44
No. 2 Wisconsin defeated No. 7 Oregon, 85-77
No. 2 Villanova defeated No. 7 Connecticut, 77-65
No. 4 Michigan State defeated No. 12 Harvard, 80-73