Friday Tourney Notes

While the NCAA Tournament has been entertaining thus far, it has not exactly been as wild a first couple of opening days as we have seen in the past few seasons (which is most unfortunate for me and my first round upset-laden bracket). This is not to say there isn’t time for some crazy stuff in the round of 64. Nor is it to discount La Salle and Harvard’s impressive wins over higher seeds. But c’mon, La Salle hanging on to beat an offensively inefficient Kansas State team or Harvard surprising a mis-seeded New Mexico team do not compete with last year’s opening round 15 over 2 stunners–Missouri’s loss to Norfolk State and Duke’s to Lehigh. There have been a lot of close calls however. Let us begin with some of the most exciting games thus far:

  • St. Mary’s came up a hair short of an upset against Memphis. If Memphis wants to make a run, they will have to show greater poise with leads late in games going forward.
  • Despite blowing out Marquette for much of the game, Davidson failed to pull off the upset yesterday, absolutely imploding at the end. Davidson was an excellent 14 seed.
  • Gonzaga only beat 16 seed Southern by 6. It is hard to tell what to take away from this one. Southern did play really well for a 16 seed, but Gonzaga stunk. Maybe it will serve as a wakeup call. The Zags will need a hell of a performance to beat Wichita State in the second round.

Also, some stories are emerging. The Pac-12 is off to a nice start. 12 seed Oregon pulled off a minor upset of Oklahoma State, while Cal beat UNLV. Syracuse, meanwhile, looked like world-beaters in beating Montanta 81-34 last night. VCU also dominated Akron, winning 88-42.

Overall, nothing has really stunned me so far, but I have been surprised by two things. Firstly, I did not expect Wichita State to beat Pitt, let alone with such ease. Give a lot of credit to Wichita State, they are serious threats to Gonzaga. The Panthers, on the other hand, couldn’t shoot to save their life, causing their recent postseason woes to continue. My other surprise is that Arizona beat Belmont so easily. Belmont is a good team and I’m not sure that Arizona has played that well in a long time. If ‘Zona can repeat that effort, it will be hard for Harvard to pull off another upset.

And…That is all for a now. I need to focus on this Illinois-Colorado game!

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