Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCAA Tourney Day One

You'd be hard-pressed to remember a better day one, in recent tournament history, than this one. Three overtime games highlighted the day and, by contrast, last year's tournament didn't have three extra period games during the course of the three weeks.

Here are day one winners and losers...

- Lower seeds. Ohio (14 seed) beat Georgetown (3), Murray State (13) beat Vanderbilt (4), Old Dominion (11) beat Notre Dame (6), and St. Mary's (10) beat Richmond (7.) In addition, Robert Morris (15) took Villanova to the limit, losing by three.

- 9 seeds. In the usually competitive and close games between 8 and 9 seeds, the 9 seeds held serve today--Wake Forest beat Texas in overtime and Northern Iowa beat UNLV.

- 1 seeds. Kentucky was impressive in routing East Tennessee State and Kansas didn't beat the spread but won by 16 over Lehigh. A 16 seed still hasn't beaten a 1 seed.

- The best players nobody knew. Today, two of those players were Jimmer Fredette of BYU, who led all tourney scorers today with 37, and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh, who had 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. The Saturday matchup of Fredette versus Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente of Kansas State will be fun to watch.

- The Big East. Down went Marquette, Georgetown, and Notre Dame. The fourth entry, Villanova, started out in a funk given the initial benching of Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher but rallied to win late over Robert Morris.

- Viewers. Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery were the best broadcast crew of the day followed by Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner. The others were pedestrian at best, even venerable Dick Enberg who's a shell of his former play-by-play self.

- Texas. Not only did Texas lose a game in overtime, which they had under control, but this team was ranked in the preseason top five, spent time at #1 during the season, yet ended the year with a whimper. The Longhorns closed out by losing 10 of their last 17 games.

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