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Sunday's NCAA Action Was Incredible

It was simply amazing to watch basketball hit a level sports rarely hits - then exceed it.

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Mar 20, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Bronson Koenig (24) shoots the game-winning shot over Xavier Musketeers guard Remy Abell (10) during the second half of the second round in the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center.
Mar 20, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Bronson Koenig (24) shoots the game-winning shot over Xavier Musketeers guard Remy Abell (10) during the second half of the second round in the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It's just 12:20 and somehow Sunday already seems like it set a new standard for delirious, competitive basketball. It feels like the NCAA hit an entirely new level of drama, excitement and miraculous stories.

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Some was mundane, true, like Syracuse shutting down the team that destroyed Michigan State on Friday, beating Middle Tennessee 75-50.

And Villanova took out Iowa with no real difficulty, winning 87-68.

Otherwise? Sunday seems like a dream. Where to begin?

With Notre Dame's astonishing last-second win over Stephen F. Austin? Rex Pfleugelhorn (okay, Rex Pflueger) hit a remarkable tip-in of a Zach Auguste miss with the Irish down 75-74 with :01 left on the clock. Look at it again - he had a job to get it high enough to get over the rim. It was a tough angle.

And then he had the nerve to not react to his moment of legend - he just stood there!

He should have blown the damn Pfleugehorn. If anyone deserved it, he did.

It was a shame to see the Lumberjacks chopped down, but they made a lot of mistakes late.Still, what a run by the guys from Nacogdoches. You have to love that team.

Oklahoma's win over VCU and Maryland's win over Hawai'i were fairly normal, but in the OU win, Buddy Hield had 30 points in the first half. He's a great, great player. If you were wondering, yes Buddy is a nickname: his real name is Chavano Rainer Hield.

Maryland was in a tight game with Hawai'i when the Terps erupted on a 14-0 wave (sorry) which shipped Hawai'i back home (very sorry).

Even though both games paled in comparison to what was coming, both games showed teams that were totally focused on winning.

Wisconsin and Xavier were locked in an unbelievably tight game and basically, Wisconsin got the last shot: Bronson Koenig launched a three from the corner with time running out then stood among his teammates on the bench as it fell through as he seemed sure it would. It was a long, lingering deep shot and it hit nothing but net. It was a near Jordanesque moment. It was beautiful in every sense.

Well, unless you were with Xavier. Then it was a dagger, a heartbreak, a lifetime to reflect on what could have been.

But there's no doubt that it was epic, just as there was no doubt that Pitt, the team Wisconsin beat to get there, couldn't have done it.

Texas A&M topped them all though. With a comeback Dean Smith would have envied, A&M ripped off 10 points in less than 30 seconds to put the game against Northern Illinois in overtime.

Coaches can imagine it happening but in real life? With no pixie dust? Never happens.

All around America, coaches watched, riveted. Rick Pitino must have marveled. Coach K must have leaned forward in his chair. Even Tom Izzo, who has surely been miserable since Friday, must have felt his pulse quicken.

This just doesn't happen. Except that it did.

Afterward, A&M coach Billy Kennedy said "I still really don't know what happened."

Totally understandable.

The game went to double overtime with A&M winning 92-88.

Small trivia: UNI's Matt Bohannon's brother, Zach, finished at Wisconsin in 2014. Can you imagine the family dynamics this Thanksgiving?

In the nightcap, St. Joe's took Oregon nearly to the limit, but mistakes doomed the Hawks and Oregon advanced.

They way they carrion, both teams were fowl (absolutely not sorry - that took some doing).

Well, not really foul, but that game had too many errors to be on par with the earlier ones.

But it's the most important here because Duke will face the Ducks. The last time these teams played, Kyrie Irving was healthy, CJ Singler played for Oregon, and Duke put on an epic beatdown. There was a Plumlee involved too - Mason.

There will be a Plumlee this time too as Marshall has become the spiritual leader of the Blue Devils, but this time, Duke will not be favored.

Incidentally, as of now, with six teams in the Sweet Sixteen, the ACC stands to make about $30 million from this tournament.

News broke Sunday that TCU is seriously pursuing Pitt's Jamie Dixon. Dixon is a Horny Toad alum so you can see the appeal for the Frogs. Dixon's Pitt contract does have a healthy buyout however.

They are also looking at Buzz Williams, who is from Van Alstyne, Texas, about 1.5 hours from TCU.

Either guy would have a major challenge: TCU has gone 8-60 in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs have made it to the modern NCAA just twice since 1987.

Williams is doing a remarkable job at Virginia Tech and the path to a good team is more clear there than it would be at TCU. At a minimum he'll end up with a raise out of this.

Dixon? Well, he is a graduate and he might be getting sick of the situation at Pitt, where he has won but not enough, and his scheduling is as bad as what Herb Sendek did at NC State.

If we were the AD there, the strategy would be simple: contact Archie Miller, whose hometown is about 30-40 minutes away. He's both a proud native of Pennsylvania and reportedly would like to coach in the ACC.

If he's interested, we'd then offer to waive Dixon's buyout. Let him go and hire Miller, who is an immensely promising coach who would probably enjoy being home.

Do it now, before Pitt native Sendek calls with the same idea.

Among the overjoyed Sunday: former Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky. Check this out.

Among the depressed Sunday: actor Bill Murray. Famous for many roles including his star turn in Caddyshack, his iconic role in Ghostbusters and so many others, Murray was pulling for Xavier where his son Luke is an assistant coach.