Day 1…Not Much Madness…
Subdued, expected, and blowouts…all three of these words described Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament. High seeds took care of business, for the most part, and of the upsets that did happen, most people already picked them in their brackets. The #1 seeds proved why they are seeded so high. And yes, that includes North Carolina, even without Ty Lawson. They got off to a quick 10-0 start against the “boys” from Radford and never looked back. It was domination from the get-go, much to my chagrin. Up and down the floor, Radford was caught day-dreaming and Roy William’s squad made them regret it. The only other #1 seed that played yesterday was UConn and they absolutely throttled Chattanooga. I mean, it was like David vs. Goliath…without much David. Thabeet and company led scoring fleuries all throughout both halves and made it look easy. Poor Chattanooga. Louisville and Pitt will learn their fate this afternoon, but I foresee no trouble in their near future. Both should win big and not really get tested until the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.
The biggest seed upset of the day was #12 Western Kentucky over the #5 seed Illinois in the South Regional bracket. The Hilltoppers took charge out of the gate and proved to America that they are a solid basketball program and should not be overlooked. Just ask Gonzaga…they get them on Saturday night. Western Kentucky won on a buzzer beater last year and really made a name for themselves. For this reason, lots of people, including myself, picked them to be the victor in this ballgame. The 5-12 matchup is always a dangerous place for the #5 seed and last night was just another example. Go Toppers. Look for them to put up a good fight against the ‘Zags over the weekend.
Across the rest of the Regions, the only other major excitement came from the following three games:
American vs. Villanova
American, a HUGE underdog, against a highly praised ‘Nova squad took at 14 point lead early into the second half. For those of you who picked Villanova to get to the Elite 8 or further (and you should’nt have because apparently you forgot Duke is in their bracket), you must’ve been sweatin’ it our and glued to the TV set. Unfortunately for the scrappy American group, they went absolutely ice-cold down the stretch and ‘Nova took full advantage, going on a major run to the end the game to win by double digits.
Clemson vs. Michigan
Clemson lost this game in two ways: Oglesby getting ejected for throwing ‘bows like an absolute thug and poor coaching on their last possession with no time left on the clock. After Michigan blew a 12 point lead, Clemson clawed their way back, only to scramble with a few seconds left and put up a horrendous shot to tie the game. Better luck next time Tigers. How does it feel to be the only ACC team not to do their part yesterday?
VCU vs. UCLA
I’m not going to lie, I’m glad UCLA won this game. They probably shouldn’t have, but they made shots and hit free throws when they counted. As a Duke fan who literally was heartbroken when VCU upset them in the first round two years ago, I got a little revenge back last night when Eric Maynor (who single handedly beat Duke two years ago) missed a game-winner at the buzzer. The Rams made a big run at the end of the game, only to fall short by a single point. Good try, but no soup for you Mr. Maynor.
Hopefully today will bring a little bit more Madness….LET’S GO EAST TENNESSEE STATE!!!