March Madness tips off with upsets; local fans ready to see KU, MU play Saturday

Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NCAA Tournament’s first round of games tipped off Friday after a one-year hiatus. March Madness was immediately triggered when No. 15-seed Oral Roberts defeated No. 2-seed Ohio State in early action. 

“Ohio State is good at football. You don’t get to be good at both, so if you lose ha, ha,” Josh Martin said, watching the game at Power & Light where he was surrounded by dozens of fans. 

Usually the first full day of games is Thursday. With it being a Friday this year and nice weather abound, the tournament’s first day drew outdoor crowds in Kansas City. 

“Luckily the weather held up nice 60 degree day. Nice to be outside, definitely been missing this,” Patrick Lindmark said waiting for Villanova to play.

KU fans certainly missed the tournament last year when the Jayhawks were projected to be the favorites. Now some are relishing the role of underdog. 

“Let’s get past USC, and then maybe we’ll get an upset on Gonzaga and maybe reverse some demons we’ve had in year’s past,” Martin said. 

KU will never be a Cinderella, that’s reserved for Mid-Major colleges and universities some people had never heard of before Friday. But unless it’s going to impact your bracket, suddenly everyone is a fan of a school like Oral Roberts when they can pull off the big upset.

“Our daughter has Mizzou winning the whole thing, and our son, who is 3, has Texas. So he’s probably more likely to win but we’ll see,” Scott Ward said.

The American Gaming Association predicted there would be 8% reduction in brackets this year to 36.7 million because of fewer office pools due to COVID-19.

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