Losing in the NCAA tournament is never fun. Even if the team pulled off a magnificent first round upset, players are still upset to lose in the next round. The same is true of UMBC, the victor in the tourney’s first ever 16-seed upset of a 1-seed team. The team lost in the second round to Kansas State, and even the pride from their amazing win couldn’t dull the sadness of the loss.
But UMBC fans were feeling no sadness late Sunday night when the team arrived back on campus. Students had gathered to welcome their team back home, and they got a hero’s reception.
A heroes' welcome for the Retrievers! https://goo.gl/G4hVKuA group of fans gathered on the UMBC campus early Monday morning to welcome home the men's basketball team from their historic NCAA Tournament.
Posted by WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore on Monday, March 19, 2018
— WBAL Baltimore News (@wbaltv11) March 19, 2018
No one cared that it was the middle of the night, or that it was cold, or even that the Retrievers had lost to Kansas State. Here’s what one student told CBS Baltimore.
“We just witnessed history,” said UMBC student Rachel Daniel. “Just Friday night, I mean, there’s reason to celebrate, even though we didn’t win the game. We made history and I think that’s absolutely amazing.”
UMBC coach Ryan Odom greeted the fans when he got off the bus with the team, and thanked everyone who had gathered to cheer them.
“Thank you, guys,” Odom said. “Yeah, can’t tell you how much we appreciate you all coming out here and supporting us all year man, this is awesome.”
UMBC’s time at the tournament has barely ended, but students are already looking forward to next year.
— UMBC (@UMBC) March 19, 2018
Next year will have to wait, though. UMBC students are on spring break for the rest of the week. But it’s perfect timing for the team — they deserve a little rest after making all that history.
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