Day One, In the Books


Talk about a tease of a day. There looked to be some amazing upsets on the verge of happening. Memphis was down six with ten to play, but it wasn’t meant to be. American had Nova by 14, but couldn’t keep ’em off the line. North Iowa rallied late, but came up short. Four lower seeds won today, a No 9 (Texas A&M) and two No 10’s (Maryland & Michigan). The biggest upset (based on seeding) was No 12 Western Kentucky over No 5 Illinois, but was it really that big of a surprise?

The stat of the day was, live by the three, die by the three. The losing teams on day one shot 355 three-point shots. They hit only 114, 32%. The sixteen winners took 296 shots and made 118, that’s 40% from the floor. Of the 16 losing teams, 11 took 20 or more three-point shots and only two made at least ten of them. Of the 16 winning teams, only four took 20+ three-point attempts.

No 2 Memphis over No 15 CS Northridge, 81-70
Coach Cal, be sure to thank Roburt Sallie. the sophomore bench warmer showed up and saved Memphis’ season by scoring 31 more points than his season average. Every point was needed, as the Matadors had a six-point lead with ten to play. The Tigers took over and finished the game on a 25-8 run.

No 10 Michigan over No 7 Clemson, 62-59
Cough, cough. Choke, choke. The Tigers winless streak in the NCAA Tournament is now at 13 years thanks to Oglesby’s stupid elbow and the simple fact that the Tigers best player (Booker) only took ten shots. I’m sorry, but Clemson has a force in the middle with Booker. He made seven of his 10 shots and went to the line a few more times. Instead of feeding him the ball over and over again, Clemson decided to take 22 threes and miss 17 of them.

No 10 Maryland over No 7 California, 84-71
69 seconds. That’s it. The Terps trailed only twice in the entire game, for a total of 69 seconds. Vasquez led the way with 27, while Maryland held the Golden Bears to 29% shooting from behind the three-point line (7-24).

No 1 North Carolina over No 16 Radford, 101-58
The Tar Heels stuffed the stat sheet, 84 shots, 57 rebounds, 19 offensive, 17 assists, 11 steals and 8 blocks, while holding overmatched Radford to 28% shooting. Just for fun, 13 different Carolina players took at least one shot today.

No 8 LSU over No 9 Butler, 75-71
When was the last time the regular season champs of two major conferences met in the second round in the ‘No 1 vs No 8’ match up? I don’t know, but I’d love to know. That’s what we’ll be getting Saturday, after LSU disposed of the Bulldogs. Marcus Thorton was a man among boys, scoring 30 on 10-15 shooting.

No 1 Connecticut over No 16 Chattanooga, 103-47
Nine minutes in and the Mocs were in this baby, down only 19-15. However, Connecticut went on a 84-32 run. I guess you don’t need a head least not against Chattanooga

No 9 Texas A&M over N0 8 BYU, 79-66
I have a feeling the Cougars are sick and tired of the Aggies. That’s two straight seasons Texas A&M has knocked out BYU in the opening round. This one got out of hand quickly, as the Aggies jumped out to a 26-8 lead, less than nine minutes into the game.

No 4 Washington over No 13 Mississippi State, 71-58
How about this stat line…the Huskies’ Jon Brockman, 10 pints, 15 rebounds. No three players had 15 rebounds total. Washington D’s sufficated the Rebels, 34% from the floor, with only one player scoring in double-digits (Barry Stewart’s 14).

No 5 Purdue over No 12 Northern Iowa, 61-56
The Boilermakers held the Panthers to only six buckets in the first half, and held off a late rally, despite a rough game by Hummel (9 points, 4-10 shooting), to advance to the second round. Man, that was a long sentence.

No 2 Duke over No 15 Binghamton, 86-62
The Bearcats came out with some hop, but they were no Belmont. Too small to hang with Duke (when was the last time I wrote that for a Duke game), Binghamton got into very early foul trouble, but still manage to hang within 11 at halftime. However, the Devils ate ’em up in the second half with a complete team effort, with six players scoring in double figures.

No 7 Texas over No 10 Minnesota,76-62
With just over 13 minutes to play, the Gophers were hanging around, trailing by three, 47-44. A.J. Abrams decided he had enough. Over the next 2:10, he hit four-straight three pointers and just like that, the lead was 15 and the game was pretty much over.

No 6 UCLA over No 11 Virginia Commonwealth, 65-64
The Ram almost did it. They almost pulled off the upset. VMA rallied from nine down with under five to play, pulling within one. However, with seconds on the clock, Maynor took an ugly shot that had zero chance of going in. Where was that kind of shot against Duke two years ago?

No 3 Villanova over No 14 American U, 80-67
It looked like the Eagles could do it, pull off the huge upset. They led by as much as 14 early in the second half, but Villanova took over in the second half, thanks to free throws. The Wildcats shot 26 free throws in the second half to the Eagles one. You read that right, Villanova won the free throw battle in the second half, 26-1.

No 2 Oklahoma over No 15 Morgan State, 82-54
It’s Blake Griffin’s world, we should just be glad we get to live in it. The Sooner big man had 28 points and 13 boards, but you had to feel like he could have easily had 40/20, but I guess he felt like sharing. What could Morgan State really do? He was 10-11. I guess you could try to flip him over your back. Wait, they tried that, it didn’t help.

No 4 Gonzaga over No 13 Akron, 77-64
The Zips actually led 52-51 with 9:43, but then the Bulldogs woke up from their stupor and went on a simple 23-4 run, going 6-7 from the floor and 9-10 from the line during the run.

No 12 Western Kentucky over No 5 Illinois, 76-72
Did anyone really give Illinois a shot here without their point guard? Easily the safest No 12 vs No 5 pick in the tournament, the Hilltoppers didn’t disappoint, controlling the game up until the end. However, don’t be fooled by the four-point difference. The game wasn’t that close.