March Madness “Cinderella Is Late For The Ball”
Total Pro Sports – Lackluster. Uninspiring. Mediocre. Or just plain boring. Either way you look at it the first day of the tournament provided few memorable games and only one true upset, Western Kentucky over Illinois. VCU tried to pull off an upset against UCLA but Eric Mayor and his Rams fell short like his last second shot. Before I go to bed tonight I will say a prayer hoping that tomorrow brings us some upsets and buzzer beaters.
Memphis 81 Cal State Northridge 70
After all the hoopla about Memphis being a one seed this is how they come out of the gate? Early foul trouble for the Tigers put them in a hole as did turnovers. Memphis needed 10 threes from Roburt Sallie, who normally averages 4.5 points a game, to fend off Cal State Northridge. Will this be a wake up call for the Tigers or a confidence shaker? Up next is a gritty Maryland team that is building confidence.
Wake me up when its over
There were a number of games that made you want to take a nap. The one and two seeds (UConn, UNC, Duke, Oklahoma) cruised, which was expected. Texas A&M handled BYU, Maryland and Washington won by double digits, Purdue controlled most of the game against Northern Iowa (where Kurt Warner went to school) and Texas took care of lowly Minnesota by 14. Boring.
The Wildcats of Villanova had to have a second half surge to take care of American after facing a 10 point deficit at the half. The worst part it was a basic home game in Philadelphia.
Gonzaga was only up 3 on Akron with 8 minutes to go. Eventually they pulled away, but seriously Akron? You need a better showing if you want to take down Western Kentucky and possibly UNC in the next two rounds. Besides I thought Michigan football was the only team to struggle against the Mid-American Conference.
A gimpse of what we hope for
There were some finishes that reminded you of why you are watching nearly 12 hours of basketball
Michigan 62 Clemson 59
With Michigan up as much as 16, Clemson clawed back into it with a chance to tie at the end of the game. Ultimately Michigan’s 1-3-1 zone was too much for Clemson, who underachieved once again in the tournament.
LSU 75 Butler 71
Losing for most of the game Butler came back in the second half and got within three of the Tigers. Yet solid free throw shooting down the stretch put the game away. Next up for LSU is UNC. Have fun with that.
UCLA 65 VCU 64
Eric Maynor has been there before. With just under 12 seconds left he looked like he could do it again. Trailing by one Maynor struggled to get across half court pump faked and then put up a shot online that fell short. Darren Collison stellar defense on Maynor kept the Bruins from being on the losing end of the first buzzer beater of the tournament.
Their was one real upset Thursday (and no an 8 over a 9 or a 10 over a 7 doesn’t count). Western Kentucky took care of Illinois 76-72. Behind a stat stuffing night by Orlando Mendez-Valdez (11 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assist, 2 steals, the Hilltoppers held off a final Illinois’ run to advance to the second round, which means more of this guy. Which is fine by me.
Questions to be answered
- How will the ‘Cuse look coming off of their marathon of a Big East tournament?
- Who will win the one on one battle of Dionte Christmas (Temple) and James Harden (Arizona State)?
- Can Siena be this years Davidson? They start with Ohio State with a game in the last set of the day.
- How will Pitt look after their early exit from the Big East Tournament?
- Can Arizona prove that it belongs in the field?
Hope for tomorrow
With the risk of sounding like a certain somebody, there is hope for tomorrow. What makes this tourney great is upsets. Real upsets. The ones where your boys text you asking if the earths axis has been disrupted or that if indeed the Rapture is coming. No weak upsets like Arizona (who actually is a favorite) over Utah. You come hard or you don’t come at all. There is tons of potential.
Utah State and Temple could do some damage as 11 seeds over 6 seeds. As could Wisconsin as a 12 seed against Florida State.
Major upsets could be brewing. Cleveland State, who beat Syracuse and Butler this year, could give Wake Forest all they can handle. Portland State, a winner over Gonzaga earlier in the season, could also hang with Xaiver. But my favorite hopeful upset is North Dakota State against Kansas.
Ben Woodside and crew take on the Jayhawks in their first time in the tournament. With dangerous three point shooting if the Bison are on watch out. They play at 12:30 on Friday and the best part is that Gus Johnson is doing the game. Get ready for some serious madness.
- At least one 14 or 13 seed will win tomorrow.
- As will one 12 seed and two 11 seeds.
- East Tennessee State will hang with Pitt for the first 15 minutes.
- There will be one buzzer beater and God willing Gus Johnson will be calling it.
Enjoy day 2.