Friday, March 20

16 Observations And Facts From Day 1 Of March Madness

Don't you just love this time of year? The number of fires increases by 60,000% as people burn their brackets across the nation. Trendy upset picks fail, trendy title contenders fail, and things you thought were clever end up failing. How many times can I say fail? Probably as many times as the number of picks I got wrong today. So...several more "fails" are on the way.

1. Louisville easily had the most exciting region: UAB and UCLA won by identical 60-59 scores, and Cincinnati and Purdue (who were tied at 59 going into overtime) won 66-65. Then Kentucky and Hampton played. Oh well. You can't win 'em all. Unless you're Kentucky. Jacksonville was a close second, with three games coming down to the final possession.

2. UNC's Marcus Paige said "it's fun to be the underdog" after his No. 4 Tar Heels beat No. 13 Harvard. Okay, Marcus.

3. It's unfathomable that Baylor lost its game. To be up by 12 with 2:54 left and then not score again is a terrible way to finish what had been a decent performance up to that point. Terrific job by Georgia State to press and force mistakes on Baylor's end, but goodness, what a disaster.

4. Speaking of which, Georgia State coach Ron Hunter has had a rough couple of weeks. After tearing his achilles celebrating his team's victory that punched 'em a ticket to the Big Dance, Hunter had to sit on a stool with wheels for this game. When his son R.J. hit the game-winning three-pointer, Hunter's reaction was...well, not the most graceful. 

5. The state of Texas went 0-5 and is out of the tournament entirely. After one day. Ohio, meanwhile, had the best state record, going 3-0 (though one of those wins was Dayton beating Boise State at home by one point, and that happened Wednesday).

6. There were a LOT of stupid plays down the stretch of games, but the dumbest has to be Yanick Moreira's goaltend at the end of the SMU-UCLA game. Bruins guard (and coach's son) Bryce Alford threw up an off-balanced, contested three-pointer that had ZERO percent chance of going in. Moreira didn't care. He was determined to touch that ball, and got called for goaltending. I don't understand why this has been controversial. It was 100% goaltending, and 100% stupid. It's also 100% sad because Moreira is a senior, and that was his final collegiate game.

7. UCLA winning doesn't validate their inclusion into the field. Just like Texas and Ole Miss losing doesn't mean people get to say "I told you so." The Bruins shouldn't have been in at all. They're making the most of their opportunity, so good on them, but they didn't play well enough to earn a bid during the season, and it's frustrating that they'll now be advancing.

8. I thought the Big 12 was supposed to be the best conference?

9. There were five games decided by one point (an NCAA record for a single day) and another by two points.

10. Combined, Kentucky, Villanova and Arizona won by 85 points. The other 13 games? A combined 61 points.

11. Ever so briefly (or maybe for a full year if there are no upsets tomorrow), the 11/6 matchup has more upsets than the 12/5. They had come in with 44 apiece, but 12-seeds went 0-2 while 11s went 1-2.

12. This cracks me up because I live in Austin: James Harden scored 50 points in a Rockets win. Every college team except one scored at least that many points. The lone exception? The Texas Longhorns, of course, who only managed 48.

13. The last time two 3-seeds lost their first game? You'd have to go back to 1995, when Villanova and Michigan State fell to Old Dominion and Weber State, respectively.

14. For how many close games there were, there were actually zero second-half buzzer beaters. The closest was the Wolfpack of North Carolina State, who hit a game winner with 0.1 seconds left. That reminds me...

15. Do you know why March Madness is so exciting? Because teams are so inconsistent and crappy down the stretch that even what appears to be a safe lead is, in fact, in peril. Great example: LSU missed their final 12 field goals and six free throws to blow it against N.C. State.

16. I'll end with my most egregious bracket selection I've ever made: I chose Iowa State to make the championship. They lost the second game of the day. Just like that, my bracket went up in flames. What's the most amazing part of all this? Every year, Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde does a "Dream/Nightmare Scenario" for each team in the tournament, discussing basically the best and worst things that can happen for each team, with colorful metaphors and whatnot. Iowa State's dream scenario? They win the whole thing while Iowa loses in the first round. Their nightmare scenario? Beating UAB and then losing to SMU in the second round. Let me repeat that: THEY COULDN'T EVEN GET TO THEIR NIGHTMARE SCENARIO. Just a terrible display of basketball.

1 comment:

  1. My "I hate March Madness (insert year here)" Haiku
    Villanova sucks
    All Big 12, overrated
    I hate the Spartans