BIGGEST UPSET: Earlier it was Vermont over Syracuse. But it turned out to be Bucknell-Kansas. Wow. Really think about it. For the first 2/3 of the season, Kansas was in the top 5 in the rankings...and spent a lot of time at the #2 or #3 spot. And they lose to Bucknell. Not just lost by some luck, but Bucknell really outplayed them. People talk junk about Roy Williams choking...but at least he won every first round game he's coached in.
CONFERENCE THAT SUCKS: This one is hard. I was ready to run all over the SEC, but then Mississippi State manhandled Stanford. Then, I wanted to go with my original pick, the Big Ten. I've had no respect for that conference this season, and they've really done nothing to earn it now. Iowa, who I picked to advance, lost. Minnesota lost. Illinois struggled at times with FDU. Wisconsin skinned by. Michigan State redeemed the conference somewhat by beating a tough Old Dominion squad. That makes both conferences 3-2 in the tourny. However, the SEC's losses are worse. Both LSU and Alabama were higher seeds [Iowa wasn't and Minny was in an 8-9 game]. Florida almost blew a 20-pt lead. Kentucky looked pedestrian against EKU. Don't get me wrong, the SEC can make it better...they have some legit Final Four squads out there....but the takeoff was rather rocky.
CONFERENCE THAT SURPRISED: To me, it has to be Conference USA. As I was filling out the brackets, I showed no love for the C-USA. But, Cincinnati shut down Iowa and UAB ran all over LSU [two games I lost in my brackets]. Yes, Louisville had a close call and Charlotte lost, but the Niners completely went cold in the middle part of the game [and they lost to an ACC team]. The sad thing is that only UAB will still be around next season. Hey, UTEP and Central Florida looked okay!
THE BEST CONFERENCE: I'll still say the ACC. UNC rolled, Duke won, Wake won, NC State pulled an "upset" and Georgia Tech won. That is 5-0. Not bad. Kansas is knocked out for North Carolina. And with Syracuse knocked out, it looks as if Duke has a much better shot at the Final Four and a possible dream matchup with Carolina.
BEST GAME: That Vermont-Syracuse game. I watched the whole thing. I mean, I like Coppenwrath a lot and I thought that Vermont was a legit tourny team, but I didn't expect them to touch Syracuse. Creighton-WVU was a nice one, but the Catamounts' overtime upset takes the cake.
WORST GAME: Hmm, I'll say Wisconsin-Northern Iowa. I didn't watch that game since I was watching Syracuse get knocked out, but it was on TV #3 [I have a nice setup going on]. Any game that Wisconsin is in is usually boring to me, and NIU didn't excite anything for me. I'm sure it might have been a lovely game....but I was somewhere else.
BEST PLAYER: Of all the games that I really, really payed attention to, Andrew Bogut seemed to be the best player. That center for Iowa State, Homan, had one heck of a game too. He had 14 pts, 13 rbs and 7 blocks.
WORST PLAYER: Oh, it was Syracuse's Gary McNamara. Not only could he not hit anything [including two possible game winners], he dribbed the ball of a teammates foot and into the backcourt, causing a violation late in overtime. He finished 4-for-18 from the field...including 1 of 7 from behind the arc....and just 11 points.
BRACKET OPENED UP FOR: Duke. I really don't see a challenge for Duke until the Elite 8. Also, UConn has an easier trip to the Elite 8 after Kansas was knocked off.
BORING BRACKET: Easily it is Albuquerque. All of the higher seeds won...which is good for them, but not very "magical". The seeds did actually hold.
LOOKING LIKE A CHAMPION: Right now I'd have to say North Carolina. Sure, they only played Oakland...but the other #1 seeds "only" played pushovers and struggled. When the game started, the Heels were focused and lit up the Charlotte sky.