The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

NCAA Championship Tournament: First Round

Well, Friday made up for a dull Thursday, didn’t it? No, wait. It didn’t. Total upsets Thursday: 3. Total upsets Friday: 2. Biggest upset Thursday: 11 over 6. Biggest upset Friday: 11 over 6. Blowouts Thursday: 8. Blowouts Friday: 4. So maybe the games we did have were a little more exciting: An overtime game, a couple fifteens flirting with upsets, three teams scoring 100. But overall, this first round had none of the aspects that make it such a popular event.

Maynor game winner

There were no big upsets. Even the two 11 over 6’s were predicted by many people I know. Very few games went down to the last shot. Only two or three had a shot at the end to tie or win. There were a total of five upsets. There were double-digit upsets in the first round last year. Three of those five upsets were nine-seeds. So we had few cinderellas, few close games, and few reasons to be happy about this year, especially when only one of your favorite teams got a higher-seed this year… Go SIU.

However, it’s worth noting now that with so many good teams advancing, the next few rounds should be better than usual. I can’t wait! …

I’m beginning to think we’ve all been fooled all year. The Big Ten really isn’t as bad as they’ve acted all year. Five of the six teams advanced to the second round, two of them pulling off upsets to do it. So what if their games look more high school games or boxing matches, they win games. Ohio State is still the only one to get to the sweet sixteen though.

The only Big Ten team that did lose outplayed a team seven seeds higher for all but about five minutes of the game. I’m starting to suspect refs are out to get Illinois. Not really, but look at the numbers. Two years in a row they’ve been knocked out by one possession in a game where they were called for at least ten more fouls than their opponent. Neither game was a case of the other team being more aggressive either. Last year Washington shot 39 free throws to Illinois’s 11; this year, Virginia Tech shot 28 to Illinois’s 15.

UCLA looked great. Maybe Weber State isn’t the best competition, but UCLA beat them worse than any other 15 or 16 seed got beat on the first day. Last year they destroyed Belmont in the first round on the way to a championship game appearance. I’m feeling confidant with them as my champion now.

This year seems to be a disappointment for mid-majors. Only three were able to pull off first-round upsets. Of course, that’s because what few mid-majors did get at-large bids ended up playing another mid-major in the first round. Half of the lower-seeded mid-majors with a legitimate shot of pulling of an upset were playing against higher-seeded mid-majors. I guess their success last year scared the big guys into guaranteeing that half of them get knocked out early.

Duke lost, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Tennessee scored almost twice as many points as they did in their first-round game last year. Their total points in two games last year: 136. Their score this tournament (and counting…): 121

I admit, I love Winthrop. I picked them last year and planned on picking them this year early on. Last year they outplayed Tennessee for almost the entire game but let it get away late. They tried to do the same thing against Notre Dame and probably would have succeeded too if not for their experience last year. I picked Oregon in the second round, but I can see Winthrop getting to the elite 8 now.

Finally the biggest shocker of them all: No 12-seed beat a 5-seed this year. The greatest streak in tournament history is over.

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March 16, 2007 - Posted by | ACC, Big East, Big Ten, MVC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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