The University of Maryland Baltimore County just showed why in March, hope springs eternal.
On Friday, UMBC became the first 16-seed in men's NCAA tournament history to knock off a No. 1. And the Retrievers didn't just knock off Virginia. They destroyed the Cavaliers with one of the most improbable, impressive and dominant second halves that college basketball has ever seen.
Can the Retrievers harness that magic and carry it into Sunday? If so, the Sweet 16 would be waiting for one of the best stories in sports history.
More on UMBC and the rest of Sunday's second-round action below:
All times ET
No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 16 UMBC
7:45 p.m., Charlotte, N.C., South Region
Player to watch: K-State's leading scorer, Dean Wade, sat out Friday's win over Creighton because of a foot injury, but the Wildcats are hoping he will be able to return Sunday. The All-Big 12 forward is a difference-maker whom the Wildcats will definitely need on the floor to stymie this snowballing UMBC surge.
What will keep Kansas State from moving on: Fate? Destiny? But above all, a second half from UMBC like the one it delivered Friday. The Retrievers scored 53 points after halftime against Virginia, which came into the tournament with the nation's No. 1-rated defense. Can the Retrievers replicate such a magical performance? The college basketball world -- well, outside Manhattan, Kansas -- will be pulling for it.
What will keep UMBC from moving on: UMBC coming back to planet Earth. On Feb. 3, the Retrievers fell to Vermont by 28. On Jan. 21, they were obliterated by Albany by 44. Beginning with the America East tournament, which culminated with Jairus Lyles' buzzer-beating 3 and propelled the Retrievers into the dance, UMBC has been a completely different club. And it is suddenly playing as well as about any team in college basketball.
No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 10 Butler
12:10 p.m., Detroit, East Region
Player to watch: Kelan Martin's 27 points Friday against Arkansas were the second-most ever by a Butler player in the tournament. And Butler has had some big-time performances in recent history in the tournament. Martin has put up 27 or more eight times this season. He can absolutely fill it up.
What will keep Purdue from moving on: Assuming he's unable to play as expected, the absence of center Isaac Haas, who fractured his right elbow in Friday's victory over Cal State Fullerton. Initially, he was ruled out for the rest of the tournament, though on Saturday he participated in parts of the Boilermakers' practice wearing a brace. Coach Matt Painter is still not expecting Haas to play. Purdue's offense ran through the 7-foot-2 center, and retooling on the fly won't be easy.
What will keep Butler from moving on: Purdue's 3-point shooting. The Boilermakers -- who came into the tournament shooting 42 percent from 3, ranked second nationally -- knocked out another nine on 22 attempts Friday. With Haas out, look for Purdue to bomb away from 3.
No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 11 Syracuse
2:40 p.m., Detroit, Midwest Region
Player to watch: According to ESPN Stats & Information, only Scott Skiles and Steve Smith have scored more points for Michigan State through three tournament games than Miles Bridges, who dropped another 29 points Friday. With Bridges playing that way, Michigan State is a legit national title contender.
What will keep Michigan State from moving on: The vaunted matchup zone. Syracuse, already with two wins since Wednesday, frustrated TCU on Friday with its length. As a result, the Horned Frogs shot below 40 percent from the field and only 18 percent from 3. Michigan State is a much better offensive team than TCU. But this Syracuse zone can puzzle the best of offenses.
What will keep Syracuse from moving on: Shooting. Even though Syracuse defeated the Horned Frogs, it struggled to get much going offensively. The Orange made only three 3s and shot 37 percent from the field. As good as Syracuse's zone has been, the Orange will need much more from Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle to have any chance of keeping up with Bridges & Co.
No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 7 Texas A&M
5:15 p.m., Charlotte, N.C., West Region
Player to watch: Kenny Williams delivered one of the best games of his career Friday, scoring 18 points in a rout of Lipscomb. Playing alongside Luke Maye and Joel Berry II, Williams had scored as much only four times this season. Williams isn't going to be North Carolina's primary playmaker or scorer. But when he can knock down shots playing off Berry & Co. the way he did against Lipscomb, that makes North Carolina all the more dangerous.
What will keep North Carolina from moving on: Texas A&M's prowess inside. Robert Williams and Tyler Davis made all eight of their shots in the paint in the second half Friday against Providence, as the Aggies finished with 26 paint points after halftime. Texas A&M also blocked eight shots and out-rebounded Providence 44-26. North Carolina is a tremendous offensive rebounding team. But the Aggies are an absolute force around the basket at both ends.
What will keep Texas A&M from moving on: North Carolina's balanced attack. The Tar Heels have five players who average double figures in scoring, and on Friday, all five scored at least 10 points.
No. 2 Cincinnati vs. No. 7 Nevada
6:10 p.m., Nashville, Tenn., South Region
Player to watch: With Jacob Evans and Gary Clark struggling to get going, it was Jarron Cumberland who pushed Cincinnati past Georgia State on Friday. Cumberland scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed eight offensive rebounds. Cumberland's shooting and activeness around the glass could be a real plus for Cincinnati moving forward.
What will keep Cincinnati from moving on: Nevada twins Caleb Martin and Cody Martin producing another pair of all-around brilliant performances. On Friday, Cody had 15 points, 6 assists and 4 blocks. Caleb, meanwhile, took over the game in overtime, nailing three 3s in OT to finish with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. The two played a combined 85 of a possible 90 game minutes.
What will keep Nevada from moving on: The Wolf Pack had trouble dealing with the size of Texas center Mohamed Bamba. Now they face one of the top rebounding teams in the country in Cincinnati, which outrebounded Georgia State by 20 on Friday, collecting 20 offensive boards alone. If the Wolf Pack get clobbered on the glass, they'll stand little chance of scraping out a win.
No. 4 Auburn vs. No. 5 Clemson
7:10 p.m., San Diego, Midwest Region
Player to watch: Clemson had been sputtering since losing senior forward Donte Grantham for the season because of a knee injury, but Shelton Mitchell gave the Tigers a major spark Friday. He scored a season-high 23 points and handed out five assists. Post-Grantham, Clemson has been searching for more offense. Since the ACC tournament, Mitchell has been answering that call.
What will keep Auburn from moving on: Clemson keeping the hot hand. Clemson, known for its defense, torched New Mexico State and shot 56 percent from the field, including 43 percent from 3. If Clemson, which entered the tournament with the nation's sixth-best adjusted defensive efficiency, keeps shooting anywhere close to that, it will be a tough out for anyone.
What will keep Clemson from moving on: Auburn knocking down tough shots late. In Friday's narrow win over Charleston, Auburn nailed four contested 3-pointers in the second half, including two in the final two minutes, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Although Auburn struggled to shoot for much of the game, the closing minutes of the second half were a different story.
No. 1 Xavier vs. No. 9 Florida State
8:40 p.m., Nashville, Tenn., West Region
Player to watch: The Musketeers lean heavily on Trevon Bluiett for scoring. But on Friday, backcourt wingman J.P. Macura dropped a career-high 29 points. When Macura produces offensively that way, it takes pressure off Bluiett.
What will keep Xavier from moving on: Florida State's bench play. In Friday's win over Missouri, the Seminoles got 42 of their 67 points from their bench, led by Mfiondu Kabengele, PJ Savoy and Trent Forrest, who all finished in double figures.
What will keep Florida State from moving on: Bluiett's greatness. The Musketeers are 19-1 when he scores at least 20 points. The problem for Florida State is that Bluiett usually gets to 20.
No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Marshall
9:40 p.m., San Diego, East Region
Player to watch: Jon Elmore was sensational for Marshall in Friday's upset of 4-seed Wichita State. Elmore scored 27 points, nailing four 3s while getting to the free throw line 15 times. Elmore is unafraid to shoot, no matter how far he is from the basket.
What will keep West Virginia from moving on: Fouls. As a team that presses full court, West Virginia is always going to be a team that fouls an inordinate amount. But Marshall overall is an excellent free throw shooting team, averaging 77 percent from the line as a unit. The Mountaineers have to be who they are. But against their in-state rivals, they must strive to keep Marshall out of the bonus for as long as possible.
What will keep Marshall from moving on: Turnovers. Although the Thundering Herd turned the ball over only nine times against Wichita State, Marshall can get careless with the pace with which it plays. West Virginia's lifeblood is forcing turnovers. Marshall can't afford to give away possessions -- or baskets to Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. going the other way off the break.