Day one of the NCAA Tournament is has come and gone and what a day it was. The first set of games was absolutely incredible. West Virginia stormed back from a first half deficit to beat Clemson. Butler found its tourney magic once again as Matt Howard put in the game winner at the buzzer to top Old Dominion. Temple held off Penn State thanks to a up and under leaner by guard Juan Fernandez with .4 left in the game. And then there was Morehead State.
With time running down and down by two to fourth seeded Louisville, Morehead State guard Demonte Harper drilled a three from the top of the arc with 4.8 seconds left on the clock to put the Eagles up 1. Harper had been 0-5 from three leading up to that moment. To sum up the shot and play call in one word I would like to quote analyst Bill Raftery after the shot went through.
Onions indeed. What happened next was even more unlikely. Louisville inbounded the ball, ran a little hitch play to get the ball to Matt Mara for what looked like would be a game winning three. Only senior forward and the nation’s leading rebounder Kenneth Faried had a different idea. Faried raised up, both arms straight up and rejected the shot and in the process sent Mara falling to the floor. The replay clearly showed that it was a clean block, but in the heat of the momoent it’s amazing the refs didn’t get whistle happy. Amazing game and in the process put me in a hole in my bracket challenge.
The other upset of note was number twelve Richmond upsetting the fifth seed Vanderbilt Commodores in the southwest region. Vandy played tight at the end of the game and the Spiders took advantage in overcoming a deficit. Vanderbilt couldn’t hit shots near the end of the game and went into panic mode while the Richmond played like a team with nothing to lose and the end result showed that.
Kentucky almost lost to Princeton and needed an amazing lay up from freshman point guard Brandon Knight in the closing seconds to avoid the upset. Yes, they looked like a bunch of tight freshman playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, but that’s what they are and they got the job done. I expect they’ll come out better in their next game.
The other upset on the day, and I use the word upset loosely, was the number eleven Gonzaga Bull Dogs over the sixth seeded St. John’s Red Storm. THe Zags controlled the game from the beginning and the Johnnies looked gassed. They never really were able to cut the lead to anything less than 10 or 12 points and even when they did, the Zags would put all those points right back on the board. Judging from their performance yesterday, it may be safe to say the Zags were misseeded.
After that everything else seemed to fall into place. The top seeds looked impressive in their wins over lower seeds. The two that stood out were Florida, who absolutely dominated the Gauchos of UCSB (Sorry Jim Rome) and Uconn who mollywhomped the Bucknell Bisons. I really wish I had considered Uconn going farther than the elite 8 and hadn’t listened to all the talk about how Florida shouldn’t have been a two seed. Both could come back to bite me.
Anyways, that’s it for day one of the tournament. Day two gets underway in a few hours and if it’s anything like day one we’re in store for some good basketball. I also need some help today. I’m losing to the Yankee Loving Fiance and need a few games to go my way to get back into this thing. I can’t lose again this year. I can’t take it again.
To keep tack of how it’s going, here are the links to our brackets.
Let the madness continue…