Friday, March 18, 2016

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - First Round, Day 1

Was it really an upset when Yale beat Baylor?

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.

GAME OF THE DAY: Providence vs USC. There were so many candidates, but I'm going here because the entire game was compelling.  It was close throughout and the ending was a bit shocking.  The Friars looked cooked, but USC just couldn't make free throws and made other questionable decisions.  Providence took full advantage and won on a layup after a missed defensive assignment by the Trojans.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Arkansas-Little Rock vs Purdue. This was up there for game of the day, but the "game" of it really happened with about five minutes left.  UALR went on a huge run to send the game into overtime, including the shot of the day to tie it.  Josh Hagins' 31 electric points will be remembered for years.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: ACC. The ACC went 4-0 today, with North Carolina, Virginia, Miami and Duke all winning.  That isn't to say that there wasn't some drama in those games, but the ACC is moving on.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Pac 12. The Pac-12 went 1-3 on the day with only Utah advancing.  Arizona were busy being blown out by Wichita State while USC was coughing up a win to Providence.  Colorado lost to UConn, meaning there were three seed upsets suffered by the Pac-12.  

DUD OF THE DAY: Kentucky vs Stony Brook. It happens, but with the mid-majors putting up fights everywhere else you'd think Stony Brook would at least stay in the game by halftime.  They didn't.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Kansas. The top overall seed did what it was supposed to do and flushed away Austin Peay.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Really, this is what we thought. There were 7 seed upsets today ... but were there any real shockers?  I mean, this is what we kinda thought was going to happen.  All over the place, Yale, Arkansas-Little Rock and Wichita State were looked at as good bets for "upsets".  Gonzaga was also looked at as a good team to win their game.  Plus three of the upsets were 9-seeds over 8-seeds.  All the big dogs we've been advancing with ease on our brackets won.  So was this all that big a shock?


*THANK YOU NCAA for changing up the floors.  I have complained for years that these blue and black plain floors were horrible on television and it was so difficult to tell where you were watching a game.  I love the floor plans and the colors and the city name prominently displayed.  My only gripe now is that I wish the color scheme matched the arena, city or host team.  Take Raleigh, for example.  The floor colors are purple, dark blue and light blue.  If you live in Raleigh, those are the worst colors imaginable.  Purple represents rival East Carolina, dark blue reps Duke and light blue ... well that's the hated Tar Heels.  Have it red for them.  Maybe Des Moines could have had a gold color for host Iowa State and even the nearby Hawkeyes.  Providence could have used the black and Denver could have the light blue. 

*I am really convinced that the play-in games give teams a bit of advantage.  They are tournament warm, so to speak.  Today, Wichita State looked dominant at times against Arizona while Florida Gulf Coast caught a sleepy North Carolina squad in the first half of their game.  It will be interesting to see how Holy Cross and Michigan come out on Friday.

*On my Bubble Watch, I was really skeptical of the Pac-12.  They did a great job fluffing up their RPI so they looked good to the committee.  It worked.  But you got to play the games.  USC looked like they were trying to lose at the end of their game with Providence.  Arizona didn't even look like they came to play against Wichita State.  UConn really took it to Colorado in the 2nd half of their win over the Buffs.  Now, everyone's quick conclusion is that Oregon is a really week No. 1 seed and that isn't true.  However, they better understand how.

*I really hate that the Ivy League is starting a 4-team conference tournament.  I mean, whatever, but I think the reason the Ivy has done so well in the NCAA Tournament is that it does send its best team to the dance every year.  Imagine this tournament if UAB, Valparaiso, Monmouth, Akron, San Diego State and St. Mary's also got to join the party?

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