‘The Mad Marchness’ is Upon Us: #13 Furman knocks off #4 Virginia in Round One of “The Big Dance”

No. 13 Furman the first bracket buster of the 2023 NCAA Tournament with wild win over Virginia
from Eric Smithling, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

We got our first dash of madness this March when No. 13 Furman pulled off a 68-67 upset over No. 4 Virginia in the South Region.

Furman’s JP Pegues hit a three-pointer — his one three made in the game — with 2.2 seconds remaining, and Virginia’s last-ditch attempt to avoid the upset was off-target.

The winning shot was only possible after Virginia senior guard Kihei Clark took a page out of the Jakobi Meyers’ playbook by attempting an ill-advised half-court heave that resulted in a turnover at midcourt. Furman intercepted the pass, which led to the go-ahead bucket.

People were rightfully shocked by the wild ending that delivered the first upset of the tournament.

On the other side, Virginia’s loss adds to a list of recent tournament failings, including a historic loss as the No. 1 overall seed to No. 16 seed UMBC in 2016. The Cavaliers did win the 2019 tournament, so don’t feel too bad for them.

There will be more upsets to come later today and on Friday, but Furman set a high standard for others to match with its improbable comeback victory.

The No. 13 Paladins will try to keep their run going in the round of 32 against the winner of No. 5 San Diego State and No. 12 College of Charleston on Saturday.

**********This is a very steady and solid Furman men’s basketball team, but the best Furman Paladins team might have been their 1974-1975 squad, which has been called by many, the top team in Furman men’s basketball history…I remember this team well, with their top player being Clyde Mayes…Mayes averaged 21.1 points and 13.5 rebounds for the year, but he also had a stellar supporting cast. Fessor “Moose” Leonard was a 7 ft 1 center who averaged 15.5 points per game, and 6 ft 7 Craig Lynch provided a strong defensive presence. Mayes and Leonard, along with Lynch, had Furman right up there competing with “Big Jim” Modlin and his East Carolina Pirates, who had Jim Modlin, Jim Fairley, and Jim Gregory, as their Southern Conference ‘power punch’…And Furman was right there with most all of the teams in the ACC, back in those days…Furman doing very well these days, but they sure were good, all the way back in the 1970’s, back when basketball ruled the two Carolinas(North and South)…..**********

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