The first round of the Men’s NCAA tournament came to a close tonight and like the previous year’s it was nothing but exciting.There were upsets, there were blowouts, there were overtime thrillers and there was nothing but excitement in the first round.
There were no upsets among the number ones (as there never has been in NCAA history), North Carolina took care of their business against Radford, without Lawson and UConn said no Calhoun, no problem as they handled Chattanooga. Pittsburgh did not play well, but managed to win against Eastern Tennessee State. Louisville started slow in the first half, but picked it up in the second half to beat Morehead State by 20 points.
There were several key upsets in this year’s bracket, as #12 Western Kentucky, #12 Arizona, #12 Wisconsin, and #13 Cleveland State beat Illinois, Utah, Florida State and Wake Forest respectively. One could argue that Western Kentucky and Arizona were not big upsets because many analysts had predicted them to win, but Cleveland State and Wisconsin were definitely big time upsets. Wisconsin beat Florida State in an overtime thriller as the game truly came down to the wire, it was a very disheartening loss for me, as I had Florida State in the Elite 8 in one of my brackets.
Three #10s made it past the first round, Maryland, Michigan and USC who beat California, Clemson and Boston College respectively. Will any of them be this year’s Davidson? The answer I think is no. I can not see Maryland beating Memphis, Michigan beating Oklahoma, or USC beating Michigan State. Neither of those teams have a player as dynamic as Stephen Curry, who can score at will. If I had to pick one, I’d say USC has the best chance based on their play of recent.
Another surprise came in the Midwest (where it seemed all the big upsets were), where Dayton beat West Virginia. West Virginia was thought of as a sleeper to get to the Sweet 16 by many, including myself. They just did not show up today and will be going home early this year as a result.
The scene is set for a fantastic remainder of the tournament and I can not wait to see how the Sweet 16 shapes up after this weekend. Spring is here and with it comes tons of excitement in the NCAA tournament.