Two nights. Two toppled No. 1 seeds.
Ninth-seeded Miami upset Indiana 70-68 in the second round on Monday on the Hoosiers' court as a No. 1 seed was sent home for the second consecutive day in the women's NCAA tournament.
It's the first time in 25 years that two No. 1 seeds failed to reach the Sweet 16 in women's March Madness. In 1998, 16th-seeded Harvard famously upset No. 1 Stanford in the first round, and 9-seed Notre Dame beat No. 1 Texas Tech in the second. On Sunday, eighth-seeded Ole Miss eliminated 1-seed Stanford.
The Hurricanes, who led from start to finish Monday, advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1992. They'll face 4-seed Villanova, and No. 3 seed LSU plays No. 2 Utah in the other regional semifinal as chalk held elsewhere in the Greenville 2 Regional.
Indiana, which last month won its first Big Ten regular-season title since 1983, tied the score four times in the fourth quarter but could never take the lead. Hoosiers freshman Yarden Garzon hit a 3-pointer to knot the score at 68 with less than 8 seconds to play, but Destiny Harden hit what turned out to be a game-winning jump shot with 3 seconds on the clock.
In the men's NCAA tournament on Sunday, Miami also beat Indiana in the second round to secure a spot in the Sweet 16.
How did Miami pull the upset? What's the Hurricanes' path forward in the Sweet 16? What's next for Indiana? ESPN's Charlie Creme, Alexa Philippou and M.A. Voepel dissect the second massive upset in as many nights.
Miami had Indiana on its heels from the start. How did the Hurricanes topple the top seed?
Creme: The game plan was definitive and steadfast right down to Miami's final offensive play. The Hurricanes attacked Indiana in the post the entire game, and when it was on the line, coach Katie Meier drew up another play to the post. Harden put Grace Berger on her hip, created space and delivered a short jumper to win it. Another No. 1 seed was gone.
Miami also shot 8-for-14 from 3-point range, but the Hurricanes ran so much of the offense through Lola Pendande on the block. Indiana wasn't able to handle the physicality of the 6-foot-4 senior, who finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, or able to recover on shooters quickly enough.
The Hurricanes held the lead the entire game, but it's never easy to withstand runs of the better seed playing on its home court. But Miami stuck to the game plan and never wilted mentally. The Hurricanes also had a little luck.
With 3:52 left, Indiana center Mackenzie Holmes had just scored to tie it at 58 and had a chance to give Indiana its first lead with a free throw. It came up short. With 22 seconds left and Miami up 66-65, Chloe Moore-McNeil broke free on the left side of the lane and had a clean look at a layup. She missed it badly. If Indiana had been able to get over the hump and grab a lead, Miami might not have been able to hang on.
Philippou: This Miami team hasn't always had the most high-octane offense, but its depth (and just enough offensive firepower) showed up when it needed to most, with Pendande (19 points) and Roberts (16) answering the call despite averaging fewer than 10 points per game apiece entering Monday's second round. Haley Cavinder, Miami's top scorer (12.6 PPG), didn't even need to go off for the Canes to pull this off, though her clutch 3 and free throws down the stretch were massive (she finished with nine points). With Harden and Roberts getting hot from 3, Miami ended up finishing with a season-high 57.1% from the arc.
But Meier is a defensive-minded coach, and defense was what came through most for the Canes; Indiana's 68 points was among its lowest scoring outputs of the season, as was its 41% shooting from the field. Most notably, Miami held sharpshooters Sydney Parrish and Sara Scalia to a combined 0-for-5 from 3, almost unheard of during Indiana's remarkable season.
Voepel: It hurt Indiana that Holmes, who sat out the first-round game with knee soreness, was rusty in the first half. It was her first game action since the Big Ten tournament semifinals on March 4. She scored just four points in the first half, and that contributed to the momentum the Hurricanes were able to build, along with their lead.
It was similar to what we usually see when a higher seed loses on its home court: The "underdog" team builds its confidence, and the favored team starts to feel tight. That's what happened with Ole Miss-Stanford on Sunday, and again on Monday with Miami-Indiana.
By the second half, Holmes looked a lot more like her normal self, and she finished with a team-high 22 points. It came on 10-of-19 shooting, which is not at all bad -- just not what we're used to seeing from a player who shoots 68.8% from the field.
Credit, as Charlie and Alexa pointed out, also goes to Miami's defense. Pendande was not just strong offensively, but her defense really made Holmes work inside.
Miami, Villanova, LSU and Utah will battle the rest of the way in Greenville 2. How does Indiana's absence change the region?
Creme: Miami joins Ole Miss as the story of the tournament. It will be fun to see the always candid and passionate Meier get plenty of media attention this week. But LSU and Utah have to feel like a huge opportunity has been created. The winner of that game is now guaranteed to play a lower seed in a game for the Final Four.
Philippou: This regional already screamed potential chaos pre-tournament, but now? I'd agree with Charlie that, on paper, the LSU-Utah winner probably feels primed to advance to Dallas. That prospect seems wild, frankly, given the predominant notion recently that the Tigers were not "for real" because of how untested they were after a weak nonconference schedule -- and Utah slipped under the radar for many outside of the West Coast.
That said, given how Maddy Siegrist and Villanova have played so far this tournament, maybe the Wildcats could make some history. They'll continue to need other contributors, like Lucy Olsen, to chip in, but having an outstanding talent like Siegrist on your team gives you a chance to win every night. And if Miami's offense can keep this up, the Hurricanes could continue to cause chaos, but that might depend on which team(s) they match up against.
One more thing, too: Seattle 3 teams also must feel better about not needing to go through a team like Indiana should they advance to the Final Four.
What's next for Indiana
Creme: With Holmes already announcing her intentions to return to Bloomington, the Hoosiers should again be in the mix for the Big Ten title. The loss of Berger will hurt, especially in close games. For three years she has so often been the player Teri Moren turned to. However, Indiana went 7-1 without her earlier in the season. The younger Hoosiers have already seen they can succeed without Berger.
If Sara Scalia elects to take her extra year, the rest of the key components will join Holmes. Garzon hit the two biggest shots of the game against Miami -- a pair of game-tying 3-pointers in the final minute -- and could be ready for big things, softening the blow of losing Berger just a little.
What Moren has built in Bloomington looks sustainable. This might be just a bump in the road for a program here to stay.
Voepel: Sometimes it's strange how you can trace something back to an exact moment. For Indiana, it's almost as if its fate cosmically changed for the worse when Caitlin Clark's buzzer-beating 3-pointer swished through the net at Iowa on Feb. 26. It looked like Indiana was going to beat the Hawkeyes in the regular-season finale, having clinched the Big Ten regular-season title the week before. At that point, Indiana had just one loss all season: at Michigan State in December.
Then Clark's shot fell. The Hoosiers were unhappy with the loss, but they were still the No. 1 seed headed into the Big Ten tournament. All seemed well. They got out to a 24-point lead against Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals. But then they lost that game.
Then Holmes dealt with her knee issues, something that impacted her last year, too. The Hoosiers were still an NCAA No. 1 seed for the first time, and after a slow start beat Tennessee Tech in the first round. But heartbreak was on the way with Monday's second-round loss.
Moren has done an amazing job in Bloomington, and as Charlie said, there is no reason to think Indiana will not be a top team for years to come. Even after Monday's crushing loss, Moren talked about how proud she was of this season and this team. But the storybook ending of a first trip to the women's Final Four that the Hoosiers and Berger, a fifth-year senior, hoped for just didn't quite materialize.