We'll provide updates and analysis throughout the day as the NCAA Tournament gets under way today.
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Update 12:45 am
What a day. Here's the final tally
Three overtime games (one of which went double overtime)
Three games ended on made shots in the final seconds.
A one-point game that ended with the loser missing the shot.
Five double-figure seeds won
Seven higher seeds won.
Even top seed Kansas was challenged for most of the game by Lehigh.
Only two games could be classified as complete routs (Kentucky over East Tennessee; Kansas State over North Texas). I'm not counting Ohio's amazing upset of Georgetown.
What surprised me?
How good Bulter looked in crushing UTEP in the second half
Luke Harangody only scoring one field goal for Notre Dame in its loss to ODU.
That Robert Morris sustained its effort against Villanova but once the game went into overtime, you knew Villanova would win.
Of course, Ohio, a team with a losing record n the MAC, beating Georgetown fairly easily.
What didn't surprise me?
Murray State's victory over Vanderbit. I never trusted Vandy to play well. (quick aside, I didn't trust Georgetown either but I thought they'd win)
That Jimmer Fredette played very well, he scored 37 in BYU's double OT win over Florida. (BYU can play much better. the big guys have got to do step up).
Kentucky and Kansas State cruising.
Anthony Johnson hasn't scored and Montana is stil tied with New Mexico. The Grizz is better than their record.
I expect San Diego State to tighened things up with Tennessee in the second half. I guess Wake and Texas will take turns not wanting to win.
I expect Kansas to wake up too. If Lehigh were to win it would be a bigger upset than Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson.
Hard to believe Ohio beat Georgetown and it wasn't even close. Ohio is coached by John Groce who was an assistant to Thad Matta at Ohio State and Butler before that In is bio on the Ohio website Greg Oden is quoted as saying Groce is an offensive genius. It sure looked that way last night. So much so it's hard to believe they finished 7-9 in the MAC this season. Unbelieveable day in Providence. Looking forward to reading Bob Ryan.
Northern Iowa did not play well, had some uncharacteristic errors but in the end, this veteran team set up the winning shot without a timeout and then senior Ali Farokhmanesh calmly knocked down the winning three-pointer.
Annual rant part 1: Why do directors switch away from the usual camera angles while play is going? A quick swtich to the end zone or the corner camera usual means you won't see the play well ... .such as when Ohio had a steal and over the shoulder pass for a dunk,. Needed a replay to see what really happened. I'm beginning to think Ohio can pull off this upset.
Northern Iowa-UNLV is a great game, not sure who's going to win.
Northern Iowa-UNLV looks like it could go down to the wire, both teams playing very hard and it looks like a an even battle. I'm surprised, I thought Northern Iowa was a much better team.
Ohio is out of their mnds, chucking up long threes. Quite a day in Providence. How were the Bobcasts seeded ninth in the MAC?
Not checking to Kentucky-East Tennessee much, just to see the score as the Wildcats pile it on.
Butler played the best half of any team in vaporizing one of my pet teams, UTEP. The Bulldogs, especially Shelvin Mac, went off and used the three to turn this into a surprisingly easy victory. I hadn't see Butler is while and I think I underestimated them, forgot just how good they were. UTEP was winning the physical battle in the first half but then Butler adjusted and put together that tremendous half. Murray State is next, which looks like Butler is heading to the Sweet 16.
Fixated on BYU-Florida,The Gators did a great job early defending Jiimmer Fredette, and they were hitting threes, not usually a strength. The Cougars seized the game back by playing better defense getting 10 straight points from substitute guard Michael Loyd, who has become a key player off the bench late in the season. Still anyone's game but I'm thinking BYU knows what it takes now.
Notre Dame has things under control vs. ODU even though Luke Harangody was scoreless in the first half. Based on the first 20 minutes, the Irish should be advancing.
I knew Villanova wasn't playing well but this first half against Robert Morris is ridiculous. The Wildcats are down five to Robert Morris
Recently recovered thought, I hate the generic courts that the NCAA sets up at each site. I like to know what game I'm watching as soon as I change channels.
Guess I was wrong about ND, ODU hanging tough
Jimmer starting to get it going wtih a few scoops to the hoop, as Tim Brando would say.
Need to use bathroom can't leave these two games. What a start to the tournament
Still need to use the bathhroom
You couldn't get as better start to this tournament, a one-point game (ODU over ND); an overtime game (Villanova over Robert Morris); and a two-overtime game (BYU over Florida).
UConn coach Jim Calhoun says you don't evaluate games in the NCAA tournament, you're just happy with the win and move on to the next game. That would be true of Villanova and BYU.
Robert Morris played a great game inspired by their manical coach Mike Rice but had to win in regulation and couldn't do it. It was an incredible effort but the Colonials just couldn't continue it in OT. Not sure what's going on with Scottie Reynolds. He didn't start because of a team violation, then shot horribly. As he always does, however, he hit clutch free throws. Villanova has some problems Robert Morris was taking advantage inside. Imagine what some other teams could do.
WAIT!! Robert Morris has pulled within one. Still can't do it, I think
BYU defended poorly and couldn't rebound. Still the Cougars had the game won midway through the second half and let Florida back in. Florida hit a lot more three than they normally do asnd made Jimmer Fredette earn every point but in the end Fredette was tremendous including an amazing long distance three that really gave BYU some separation.
Sad ending for ND, which only got on basket from Luke Harangody. A dismal ending to a great career. ODU dictated this game and then made the plays at the end.
Sam Houston is giving Baylor some problems with a tricky triangle and two defense, trying to stop the Bears' guard LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter. On offense, 6-6 forward Gilberto Clavell, who doesn't ever seem to leave his feet, has been killing Baylot inside.
Murray State is in charge against Vandy so another upset alert should be posted.
I'm going to zero in on Murray St.-Vandy and Richmond-Sant Mary's nexta, I hate when te committee puts two good non-BCS teams like Richmond Saint Mary's against each other in the first round. I like it much better when it's BCS vs. non-BCS.
A veteran team didn't panic and Murray State got a decent shot and made it to upset Vanderbilt. Is the Sam Houston upset next? The Racers look like they could even go to Sweet 16 if they repeat this effort.
Baylor woke up just in time and made the plays they had to to avoid getting upset by Sam Houston State. Great strategy by Sam Houston to use the triangle and two defense that took LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter out of the game. It nearly worked but the Bearkats just couldn't make the offensive plays in the last three minutes. For Baylor, the effect of the trick defense is a concern but this would also fall under the don't evaluate, just win category.
Saint Mary's and Richmond sure looks like they're going down the wire. Mary's center Omar Samhan is dominate inside. Villanova ought to root for Richmond because they'll have no answer for him.
Saint Mary's looked tremendous in beating Richmond. Don't be fooled, Richmond is a good team. Saint Mary's will give Villanova trouble,. I don't think Nova can contain Saint Mary's big man Omar Samhan. They played an incredible unselfish offensive game. Looked like a Sweet 16 team to me.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell