If, as we wrote over the weekend, Saturday was the best day in MAC women’s basketball history, what do we call today?
Perhaps 10 times as good.
Both Buffalo and Central Michigan pounded — just absolutely routed — No. 3 seeds and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Only one other MAC (Ball State in 2007) in history had ever made the Sweet 16.
How many times has any mid-major conference — men’s or women’s — placed two teams in the Sweet 16? (Never in the women’s tournament, according to ESPN, which didn’t mention the men).
And this is especially unusual in the women’s tournament, which has tended to have far fewer upsets.
Central beat Ohio State 95-78 in Columbus, though at St. John’s Arena, not Ohio State’s home court. That’s 17 points over the team ranked 10th in the country in the last AP Poll. CMU only beat Kent State by four. Central won only one MAC game by more than 17 points.
Buffalo (29-4) beat No. 11 Florida State on FSU’s home floor by even more, 86-65. The Bulls shot near 50 percent from the field for the second tournament game in a row and held Florida State to 33 percent. Buffalo had led the MAC in field goal defense in the regular season. Cierra Dillard had 22 points after scoring 36 in Buffalo’s 102-79 victory over No. 19 South Florida in the first round.
FSU ends its season at 26-7.
Central Michigan (30-4) made a season-high 14 three-point baskets. Point guard Presley Hudson had five of them and 28 total points. That’s the same number as Ohio State all-American Kelsey Mitchell, who ended her career as the second-leading scorer in NCAA history. Her Buckeyes end the season at 28-7.
The four victories Central and Buffalo have achieved are half as many as the entire MAC had won in history before this tournament. Counting their wins, the conference is now 12-43.
For Buffalo, it’s defending national champion South Carolina. After that, it would be No. 1 Connecticut, assuming the Huskies beat 10th-seeded Virginia.
Central plays No. 6 Oregon. Then it would be first-seed and No. 5 Notre Dame, if Notre Dame beats fourth-seeded Texas A&M.
Both games are Saturday and on ESPN3.
NCAA women’s bracket, with scores of all games.