The March Madness tournament is one of the most exciting events in college sports, and this year’s edition has already provided its fair share of surprises. One of the biggest upsets of the tournament so far came on Saturday night when the 12th-seeded Princeton Tigers shocked the 5th-seeded Arizona Wildcats in a thrilling game that went down to the wire.
The Tigers, who had already pulled off an upset in the opening round by defeating the 5th-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish, were facing a tough task against an Arizona team that many experts had picked as a potential Final Four contender. But from the opening tip, it was clear that Princeton was up for the challenge.
Led by senior guard Devin Cannady, who finished with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc, the Tigers came out firing and took an early lead. Arizona, meanwhile, struggled to find their rhythm, and the Wildcats’ star player Deandre Ayton was largely neutralized by Princeton’s suffocating defense.
Despite this, Arizona battled back and tied the game at 56 with just over two minutes remaining. But Princeton refused to back down, and Cannady hit a clutch three-pointer to put the Tigers back in front. The Wildcats had a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds, but they turned the ball over on a crucial possession, and Princeton held on for the 59-57 victory.
The win was a historic one for Princeton, who had not won an NCAA tournament game since 1998. For Arizona, meanwhile, it was a stunning disappointment, as they had entered the tournament with high hopes and a talented roster that included Ayton, who is projected to be a top pick in this year’s NBA draft.
The upset also had major implications for the rest of the tournament, as it opened up the South region and gave hope to other underdogs like Loyola-Chicago and Buffalo. It also provided a reminder of why March Madness is such a beloved event, as anything can happen on any given night.
In the aftermath of the game, Princeton coach Mitch Henderson praised his team’s resilience and poise under pressure, saying, “This is why you play college basketball, for moments like this. Our guys believed in themselves, and they executed our game plan to perfection.”
As for Cannady, he was understandably thrilled with the win and the role he played in it, saying, “I’m just happy we were able to make some shots and get a win. It’s an unbelievable feeling, and we’re excited to keep this run going.”
For fans of college basketball, the upset was a reminder of why March Madness is such a special event, as it provides a platform for underdogs to shine and for unexpected heroes to emerge. Whether or not Princeton can continue their Cinderella run remains to be seen, but for one night, they were the kings of the college basketball world.