/No. 12 Liberty upends No. 5 Mississippi State to continue upset trend at San Jose

No. 12 Liberty upends No. 5 Mississippi State to continue upset trend at San Jose

CLOSEMark J. Rebilas

SportsPulse: Liberty joined Murray State and Oregon as the third No. 12 to knock out a No. 5. USA TODAY’s Scott Gleeson thinks Liberty isn’t done either.
USA TODAY

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The 12th-seeded Liberty Flames officially turned the SAP Center into Upset Central of the NCAA basketball tournament. 

The Flames beat the fifth-seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs 80-76 on Friday night with the school’s first victory in the NCAA tournament, continuing a string of first-round upsets in San Jose.

In the two earlier games, 13th-seeded UC Irvine upset fourth-seeded Kansas State while notching its first NCAA tournament victory in school history and 12th-seeded Oregon upset fifth-seeded Wisconsin.

Liberty is making its fourth appearance in the tournament and was 0-3 in NCAA tournament play before facing Mississippi State, which was making its first appearance since 2009 but its 11th overall.

The upsets at the SAP Center have created unexpected second-round matchups Sunday.

UC Irvine will play Oregon and Liberty will play the winner of the first-round matchup of fourth-seeded Virginia Tech and 13th-seeded Saint Louis.

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