So, another 12 hours of watching my Mega March Madness [well, there was 1 1/2 intermission from 5:30-7:00 so I could go get my wife and I dinner] and the day was filled with heart wrenching drama in nearly all of the games. Excellent storylines filled Day 2.
THE SCREAMING LADY: Sorry, but in every site this day had "the screaming lady" in it. Whenever the underdog took the lead or made a huge play....you could hear the scream of some lady in the audience....sounding awful like the controversial scream in the beginning of the Ohio Players' "Roller Coaster".
ALBANY ALMOST DID IT!: One day, a 16 will beat a 1 seed. Just not today. The Albany Great Danes, who've only been a D-I school for 5 years put an excellent effort up against the UConn Huskies. They led, with about 10 minutes left to play, by a score of 50-38. The Albany players played harder than any team I've seen all tournament. They went for every lose ball, usually smacking their faces along the Wachovia Center floor. UConn went on a 34-9 run to end the game...and Albany's dream. Earlier in the day, at the same site, Monmouth played Villanova in a tight game. Down in Dallas, Memphis had a tough time shaking Oral Roberts. Sure, the #1 seeds pulled away at the end...but the fact that the 16 seeds were in these games, usually deep in the 2nd half, is quite amazing. It will happen some day....soon.
NORTHWESTERN STATE DID DO IT!: The shot of the tournament has to be NW State's Jermaine Wallace....as he hit a fade away 3 with a man in his face to win the game over Iowa. It was that Tennessee shot on the other end of the court. This was an odd upset. Most upsets involve the underdog sticking with a team all game....or getting a big lead and then hanging on. This one had NW State actually mounting a great comeback for the win. Trailing 54-37, NW State went on a 27-9 run to end the game....stunning Iowa. Amazing!
THE #2 SEEDS DIDN'T HAVE IT EASIER, EITHER: Ohio State and Texas barely survived their first round matches [just like Tennessee did yesterday]. Ohio State, in front of a home-style crowd in Dayton, held on against Davidson for an 8 pt win. Texas also won by 8, fending off a fiesty Penn team.
KANSAS GETS BUSTED AGAIN: Last year, Kansas lost in the 1st round to Bucknell. This year, they lose to Bradley. The Braves had a 14-pt lead at one point. This has got to reflect badly on Bill Self. Two years in a row, his Kansas team looking stunned and not ready to take on their first round opponent. Bradley was one of the hottest teams entering the tournament...and will be tough for anyone to deal with. But the lasting image that I'll have of this game was the fact that Bradley's players didn't over celebrate...like they knew they were gonna win. That was really cool.
BUCKNELL DID MORE BUSTING: Saying that a #9 beat a #8 seed isn't anything stunning....but it is newsworthy when Bucknell does the winning. Last year's Cinderella is moving on yet again by beating Ar-Kansas. Hey, as long as Kansas is in the name....watch out!
ACC IS A PERFECT 4-0: North Carolina and NC State kept the ACC's perfect streak alive. NC State won a terrific game against California. They held Leon Powe in check, for the most part, and got big efforts all around. This marks the 2nd straight year that the Wolfpack has won in the tourny as the #10 seed. Elsewhere, North Carolina narrowly escaped Murray State's wrath. The Racers defense was hounding...but the Carolina freshmen played very well in their first tourny appearance. The four freshmen scored the final 29 points for the Heels.....and 52 of the 69 points for the game.
THE BIG EAST WENT 5-0: Just one day after going 0-3.....the Big East had a reversal of fortune. UConn and Villanova won their games...while West Virginia, Pitt and Georgetown each won theirs. West Virginia and Pitt pretty much rolled in their games [against S. Illinois and Kent State, respectively]....but G'town had a tough time getting rid of Northern Iowa.
KENTUCKY MOVES ON: In a weird game, Kentucky outlasted UAB to move on to face UConn. Both teams shot like crap for the field and behind the arc. But Kentucky's ability to hit FTs pulled them thru. They made 26-of-30 FTs......while UAB only connected on 9-of-17.
ARIZONA BLISTERS WISCONSIN: The worst game of the day was this one. Arizona totally demolished Wisconsin. Watching this game, Arizona couldn't miss. They shot 58% and shots were bouncing and rolling in for them. I mean, all kinds of jumpers. If they can shoot like that, they can beat anyone in this tournament.
GEORGE MASON UPSETS MICHIGAN STATE: This has to be a forgettable year for MSU. Sure, G-Mason shot nearly 60%.....but Michigan State looked completely flat. Essentially the same team that went to the Final Four a year ago....they looked empty today. How does a team go to the line just FIVE times??? But give it up to Maurice Ager who dumped in 27 in defeat. But George Mason played great....and looked like a much deserving tournament team.
Read NCAA Tournament: Day 2 for more breakdowns....