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Kansas State ends UMBC's Cinderella run, advances to Sweet 16

20 March 2018

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County's (UMBC) whirlwind ride in America's hugely popular NCAA collegiate basketball tournament ended Sunday with a 50-43 loss to Kansas State.

Ironically, the man who orchastrated that massive upset, UMBC coach Ryan Odom, spent one season as head coach at Lenior-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., a Division II school and a member of the South Atlantic Conference. The same is true of UMBC, the victor in the tourney's first ever 16-seed upset of a 1-seed team.

Kansas State's Wildcats took full advantage of UMBC's shooting struggles to reach the "Sweet 16" for the first time since 2010 - when they made it all the way to the "Elite Eight". The Retrievers were nowhere near as sharp as they were against Virginia. Brown and the Wildcats' help defense were responsible for slowing down Lyles. With the win, Bruce Weber becomes the 10th coach in history to guide three different teams to the NCAA Tournament, according to unofficial research. Expect Kentucky's length and athleticism to cause some problems on defense in this game and take them to cover the spread in the Sweet 16 against a tough Kansas State team. UMBC hit 12 3-pointers against the Cavaliers but managed only 14 field goals total against the Wildcats.

The 1983 Cougars and 1985 Hoyas are on the short list of the best teams that did not win a national title. After a tone-setting effort from Kansas State's offense against Creighton, UMBC stymied the Wildcats all night. The Wildcats shot 18-of-44 from the field, 1-of-12 from three-point range.

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At that point, they might as well have turned the scoreboard off. Defensively, Kansas State yields 67.9 points per game against the opposing teams. Stellar on defense, Kansas State held UMBC to just 30 percent shooting from the floor, a percentage almost impossible to win with.

In a chaotic UMBC locker room after the game, players shouted: "All brackets gone!"

"These guys have passion, these guys love to play this game", Odom said.

"It felt like my soul left my body, man", Grant said.

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Over the next 6 minutes, 47 seconds, the two teams combined to score exactly four points. The win was there for the No. 16 seed, but unfortunately they couldn't do anything offensively.

"Got the steal and dunk and just gave us a lot of energy and that boost to show us we could win this game, and we pulled through and got the win", said Sneed.

For what amounts to a moment - for 40 minutes of basketball on Friday night, and then for the ensuing 48 hours where the UMBC Retrievers were all the sports world could talk about - they made us believe.

Lyles scored 28, the Retrievers cruised and then raced off the floor together in their yellow-and-black uniforms, fingers pointed toward the ceiling to celebrate the victory. As was chronicled so beautifully in the "Survive and Advance" ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, NC State had a magical run through the ACC and NCAA tournaments. They own an offensive rebounding rate of 35.6 percent (8th in the NCAA) and a free throw rate of 43.1 percent (7th in the NCAA) so far this season.

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Kansas State ends UMBC's Cinderella run, advances to Sweet 16