Friday, March 21

NCAA Tourney Thoughts: Day 1

Ahhhhhh, the Madness. It's already begun. Of course. I was a pedestrian at best 11 for 16 in my bracket after the first day, and I have some gripes to pick. But first, let's start with a positive.

Our Best Finish Of the Day goes to the Texas Longhorns, who blew a late 12-point lead, allowing Arizona State to take the lead and then later tie the game at 85. But no worries, Texas big man Cameron Ridley made an incredibly agile play to grab a loose ball after a rebound before tossing it up with the left hand for the win. Honorable mention to Dayton, whose Vee Sanford made a ridiculous floater with 3.7 seconds left, just seconds after Ohio State's Aaron Craft made a ridiculous driving layup.

The Best Performance of the Day goes to Michigan State's Adreian Payne. He dropped a school tournament record 41 points, and also pulled in eight rebounds, in the Spartans 93-78 rout of Delaware. The Fightin' Joe Bidens were sadly one and done. Payne also finished 17 of 17 from the free throw line. Quick math says that's 100%. You know who didn't shoot 100% from the free throw line?

The North Carolina State Wolfpack. In our Worst Loss of the Day award, the Pack missed 17 free throws in the most embarrassing collapse I can remember. They were up 59-45 over Saint Louis with five minutes left, and were leading by eight points with 80 seconds left. Of course, the Billikens didn't do much better, shooting just 12 for 26 from the line. Combined, the teams were 32 for 63 on free throws, good for about 51%. And these kids get free rides to school. What a joke. Get off of my screen, NC State.

The Most Boring Game of the Day Award goes to Pitt/Colorado. Yes, Wisconsin won by 40 over American, but at least the Eagles were leading for a little bit of the first half. I'm pretty sure the state of Colorado persuaded four other states to legalize marijuana before the Buffaloes even made a field goal. I believe it was 36-9 at one point, and of course that wasn't even the biggest lead, as the Panthers won by 29. Just a disgusting display of basketball all around for Colorado.

Meanwhile, the Thank Goodness This Guy Is On The Team award is going to Luke Hancock of the Louisville Cardinals. Rick Pitino's squad almost crapped the bed against an inspired Manhattan Jaspers team (bonus points if you can tell me what a Jasper is), but fortunately the three-point specialist...well, did what he does best: he hit two clutch threes in the final couple minutes, and the Cardinals escaped with the 72-64 win.

The Albany Great Danes gave the overall #1 seed Florida Gators a great scare, but they gave our eyes an even bigger scare with the Ugliest Uniforms award. I mean, look at these things. They wouldn't be THAT bad if not for the really weird shorts. I can't tell if they're coming or going. I guess they're going, since they're out of the tournament. 

Congrats, Spokane, you win the Region I Would Have Liked To Be At Live award. Harvard/Cincy, Louisville/Manhattan and San Diego State/New Mexico State all were fantastic games. Plus they got to witness the aforementioned history in the Michigan State game. That's a pretty solid haul. Here's to a fantastic Friday of madness!

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