Saturday at the NCAA Tournament – From the Bird’s Nest
In the round of 32, you see, as a rule, quite a few blowouts.
Some teams seeded near the top take on an upstart that pulled a first round upset. The results aren’t pretty.
And, that happened on Saturday. In fact, blowouts were the rule of thumb until later in the evening. Not all of them were higher seeded teams, either.
The day was far from exciting, but the final three games of the night made it all worthwhile. Here are some thoughts…
How about the state of Michigan? – OK, if you predicted Michigan would beat VCU by 25 points, raise your hand. Now, if you had Michigan State by 22 over Memphis, raise that hand up high. No surprise these teams won. The margin of victory? Whoa.
How angry is Oregon? – The Ducks became the first of the double digit seeds to advance to the Sweet Sixteen after dismantling a very good Saint Louis team. The Ducks, who everyone knew were underseeded going into the tournament, showed the committee…again…just how well they’re playing. Arizona, a team that got hosed in the Pac-12 tournament, is playing with a purpose as well. Louisville? Well, they’re Louisville and they looked like a #1 overall seed with their performance against a good Colorado State club.
Speaking of angry – “Play Angry” is the motto of Wichita State. And, after surrendering a big lead to a comeback from top-seed Gonzaga, the Shockers got angry and hit five straight three pointers to fuel a comeback and send the boys from Spokane packing. Many fans had the Zags going out in this round….to Pittsburgh. And, Gonzaga, once everyone’s darling, again showed they’ve been underachievers the last few seasons. Or, maybe they’re just overseeded every year.
Tough day for the A-10 - After starting 6-0, the A-10 got a dose of reality yesterday. VCU and Saint Louis got throttled. And, Butler fell short in their game against Marquette, after leading most of the way. It was the second straight comeback for Buzz WIlliams’ squad, who, frankly, should have lost to Davidson.
Sometimes sleep is good – Frankly, I fell asleep during the Syracuse-Cal game, and judging by the game story, maybe that was a good thing. The Orange went over twleve minutes without a field goal and missed 15 free throws in their 66-60 win. Both teams shot under 40%. Now THAT’S a cure for insomnia.
The rest of the third round will be played today. We’re assured of at least one more double digit seed advancing as #13 LaSalle faces #12 Ole Miss. The Explorers will try to salve the wound in the league caused by the performances yesterday. Temple will try and do the same against #1 seed Indiana.
Perhaps the most interesting matchup is North Carolina taking on #1 Kansas. The Big 12 hasn’t been very good in this tournament, and KU was totally unimpressive in their win over Western Kentucky. UNC feels like they should have been seeded higher than #8. Can two #1 seeds fall in the second round.
Enjoy the madness.