March Madness, Weekend 1: Pro Notes

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Round 1, Day 1: Cinderella Goes Dancing

  • (3) Notre Dame 69, (14) Northeastern 65

o   The first game of the tournament showed what was about to come. Northeastern—NORTHEASTERN—had a chance to beat Notre Dame in the closing seconds, when, down two, suffocating defense prolonged Goliath’s life.

  • (14) UAB 60, (3) Iowa State 59

o   No one really knows why Iowa State was ranked a 3 seed, but, nonetheless, it didn’t take long for Cinderella to get her hair ready. UAB played without fear and with confidence throughout the game, as if they knew the entire time they were going to win. Also, Iowa State settled for a 3 at the end of the game down 1, so, yes, they deserve to lose.

  • (14) Georgia State 57, (3) Baylor 56

o   Cinderella’s ready for her close-up. Everything about this game was perfect, from the fact that literally no one likes anything about Baylor—even Baylor fans—to the fact that Georgia State won on the worst winning shot since Northern Iowa gave Kansas Jamie Lannister’s regards.

o   Also: THIS WAS THREE GAMES IN. I love March Madness.

  • (2) Arizona 93, (15) Texas Southern 72

o   Okay, I’ll admit: I watched, like, a minute of this game. It went exactly like you’d knew it would, even with Cinderella looking really good tonight.

  • (6) Butler  56, (11) Texas 48

o   Nothing truly spectacular happened, except this occurred to me: Brad Stevens is still very much alive at Butler. They still play very smart, efficient basketball. What a joy to watch.

  • (11) UCLA 60, (6) SMU 59

o   UCLA won on a horrible goaltending call.  That was an air-ball that had no chance of going in. I’m sorry, SMU.

o   Also: I had no idea Larry Brown was still coaching. Why is he doing this? He looks like he’s been staring into the Ark of the Covenant for the past 20 years.

  • (6) Xavier 76, (11) Ole Miss 57

o   Two of the subplots I was most interested in came together in this game: the SEC being not as good as people think and the Big East being much, much better than people think. Xavier destroyed Ole Miss. Xavier blitzed Ole Miss. Xavier spoiled the Red Wedding for Ole Miss and wasn’t even sorry about it.

o   I don’t know if this means anything in terms of someone (such as Villanova) beating Kentucky, because Kentucky is the type of team that transcends ridiculous things like conference ties. But anything’s possible.

  • (10) Ohio State 75, (7) VCU 72 (OT)

o   WHY DIDN’T YOU CALLL TIMEOUT AT THE END OF REGULATION, SHAKA?

o   Also: for the 17th year in a row, Aaron Craft is looking to take Ohio State on a run deep in the Tournament.

  • (1) Villanova 93, (16) Lafayette 52

o   See note for the Arizona game.

o   Also: special shout-out to my future roommate for being literally the only person in the country to pick Lafayette to run to the Final Four. I don’t have anything witty to add, because that’s beautiful in its own right.

  • (8) Cincinnati 66, (9) Purdue 65 (OT)

o   About a decade ago in a game that’s been forgotten to the annals of history, Purdue played a horrible football game in the rain against what I can only assume was another Big 10 opponent. Through the second and third quarters, Purdue’s quarterback, a man who’s named is lost, a la Sméagol, threw approximately 125 interceptions. I remember this because no one else will, because I was the only one watching this monstrosity (I assume).

o   The point is this: that quarterback on that day cursed Purdue’s entire sports program for all time. There was never any doubt Cincinnati was winning this game.

o   Also: my mom is currently in the 100th percentile on ESPN, which I believe is a mathematical impossibility. She picked Cincinnati because their logo looks like Chick-fil-a. 100th…percentile.

  • (4) North Carolina 67, (13) Harvard 65

o   I love the fact that Harvard went for the win at the end, I hate this new trend college coaches have with not calling timeout to set up a shot. Timeouts don’t give you any points at the end.  Use them.

  • (5) Utah 57, (12) Stephen F. Austin 50

o   Utah had the lead the entire game. SFA cut the lead to four for like a single possession before letting Utah expand the lead again. Zzzzz.

  • (8) NC State 66, (9) LSU 65

o   NC State hit a little hook shot with 0.1 seconds left. It was amazing, and, also, the SEC thus far is 0-2 in the tournament. Just saying.

  • (1) Kentucky 79, (16) Hampton 56

o   It was nice of Kentucky to not cover the 34 points that they were laying as favorites.

  • (5) Arkansas 56, (12) Wofford 53

o   These two teams played at each other’s throats the entire second half. Wofford missed 2 3 point attempts as time expired. The SEC advances to 2-2, with their two wins against a 16 seed and winning by 3 against a 12. Hmm.

  • (4) Georgetown 84, (13) Eastern Washington 74

o   Despite the relatively close score, Georgetown was never in any real danger of losing.

Round 1, Day 2: Chalk It Up

  • (2) Kansas 75, (15) New Mexico State 56

o   All New Mexico State is, is dust in the wind.

  • (7) Michigan State 70, (10) Georgia 63

o   This was an exciting game. I don’t care what seed Michigan State is, every year they’re dangerous. Tom Izzo is a mastermind, and Trice is reminiscent of Scottie Wilbekin, which is high praise coming from this UF undergrad who seriously considered at various points last year naming his first-born son “Scottie.”

  • (5) Northern Iowa 71, (12) Wyoming 54

o   I’m not sure Northern Iowa ever trailed. It was that kind of game.

  • (5) West Virginia 68, (12) Buffalo 62

o   Buffalo ran out of gas by the end, which happens when you have to spend so much energy having to catch up. But they seriously flirted with the upset, and made it a great game.

  • (7) Wichita State 81, (10 Indiana 76

o   There’s nothing more exciting than Midwestern basketball (gags). Tom Crean should have been fired 10 years ago, and he was only hired in 2008. The most important thing this did was set up the Wichita State-Kansas blood-match on Sunday, because there does not exist a universe where Wichita State lost this game, so get excited.

  • (2) Virginia 79,  (15) Belmont 67

o   Don’t let that score fool you. Belmont had every shot at winning this game until Virginia unleased a devastating 11-2 run to end the game. The weird thing, though, is how much it didn’t feel like a 2 vs. 15 seed. Belmont playing Virginia equal seemed really natural and not at all surprising, which probably does not bode well for UVA as they run into Michigan State on Sunday.

  • (4) Louisville 57, (13)  UC-Irvine 55

o   Just like Belmont, UC-Irvine played Louisville as an equal. Their coach for some reason didn’t call timeout with 2 seconds left before the final turnover, thus sealing the game, but what really mattered was the fact that  Louisville had fouls to give at the end, and UC-Irvine didn’t.

  • (4) Maryland 65, (13) Valparaiso 62

o   This continues the streak of great games that the favorite pulls out for whatever reason at the end. Poor Valpo.

  • (8) Oregon 79, (9) Oklahoma State 73

o   There is horrible officiating, and then there is what happened at the end of this game. A Cowboy was clearly fouled while shooting a 3 down 3. The only thing is, the refs didn’t agree, and congrats Oregon. But, man, was that awful.

  • (1) Duke 83, (16) Robert Morris 52

o   Duke advances to the Round of 32, a 1 seed beats a 16, and the sun sets in the east and rises in the west.

  • (7) Iowa 83, (10) Davidson 52

o   Well isn’t that an interesting score! Especially when you compare it with:

  • (2) Gonzaga 86, (15) North Dakota State 76

o   This is very important to say: Gonzaga is terrible. They are the worst. The most overrated 2 seed is every time a Gonzaga team is ranked as a 2 seed. They haven’t advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2009. Iowa just rolled a better team than Gonzaga had trouble with. That’s all I’m saying here.

  • (3) Oklahoma 69, (14) Albany 60

o   Congratulations to Oklahoma, who is still in the running to lose to the winner of Michigan State/Virginia in the Sweet 16.

  • (1) Wisconsin 86, (16) Coastal Carolina 72

o   I’m always weary whenever a 1 or a 2 seed doesn’t totally take care of their opponent. Wisconsin, you’re on notice.

  • (8) San Diego State 76, (9) St. John’s 64

o   The Aztecs won this game with that 12-2 run near the end of the half.

o   Also: I’m pretty sure San Diego State has won an 8-9 matchup then lost to Duke in the Round of 32 for the past 100 years. I may be a little mistaken though.

  • (11) Dayton 66, (6) Providence 53

o   Say it with me: FIRST FOUR TO FINAL FOUR. LET’S GO DAYTON.

Round 2, Day 1: Operation: Stop Kentucky Gears Up

  • (11) UCLA 92, (14) UAB 75

o   I may be crazy, possibly because UAB is a 14 seed so it could distort the view of everything, and also because UCLA pulled away at the end, but UCLA looked crazy good. They’re setting up for a matchup with either Iowa or Gonzaga, and neither of them are world-beaters, or anything that could be approximated as such even if you squinted your eyes. Don’t be surprised if they make the Elite 8.

  • (1) Kentucky 64, (8) Cincinnati 51

o   Don’t think about the second half of the second half. Think about the first half, where the Bearcats showed how to stop perhaps the greatest team in college basketball history. Rebounding, both offensively and defensively; limiting Kentucky’s possessions; and that beautiful matchup zone. The Bearcats lost this game with two sequences: at the end of the half, when Kentucky won on a 6 point swing to expand the lead to 7; and near the beginning of the second half, when Cincy could get those points back, but came up with only 2 points in a crazy sequence. Kentucky isn’t invincible, and a better team than Cincy can very well beat them.

  • (2) Arizona 73, (10)  Ohio State 58

o   Watch out for the Wildcats-Wildcats Final Four matchup.

  • (6) Xavier 75, (14) Georgia State 67

o   Midnight hit in the form of Matt Stainbrook, which is the scariest form in which midnight can hit.

  • (8)  NC State 71, (1) Villanova 68

o   Villanova continues their long tradition of coming up short in the NCAA Tournament.

  • (5) Utah 75, (4) Georgetown 64

o   Georgetown continues their long tradition of coming up short in the NCAA Tournament.

  • (4) North Carolina 87, (5) Arkansas 78

o   The decline of the SEC continues, as UNC cements itself as a dangerous 4 seed capable of a deep run.

  • (3) Notre Dame 67, (6) Butler 64 (OT)

o   Notre Dame destroyed the hopes and dreams of literally everyone in the country by refusing to be eliminated. You’re the winner in my heart, Butler, just like you also beat Duke for the National Title, because God is not harsh enough to not let Gordon Hayward’s half-court shot to fall.

Round 2, Day 2:  So Long, Farewell, To Two 2s

  • (7) Michigan State , (2)  Virginia

o   Sparty knocks out UVA for the second year in a row. God, was Virginia bad. MSU jumped out to an 11 point lead with 35 minutes to go, proving to be an insurmountable deficit for possibly the worst offensive team 2 seed ever. Thank you for doing the Lord’s work, Sparty, and making sure no one has to watch that team again.

  • (1) Duke 68, (8) San Diego State  49

o   Don’t let that score fool you: this game wasn’t even that close. Duke absolutely made mincemeat of this Aztecs team. It was beautiful to watch. They’re probably going to win the whole thing, aren’t they?

  • (7) Wichita State 78, (2) Kansas 65

o   For the last bit of the first half, and the entire second half, this game felt like Wichita State was playing 5-on-4. Just an absolute blitzing by the Shockers. The best thing about this is the fact it technically keeps alive the Wichita State-Dayton showdown in the Finals, which would be so gloriously awful for CBS.

o   Also: free headline idea for anyone who wants it: “Shocker Shock Rock Chalk Jayhawks.”

  • (2) Oklahoma 72, (11) Dayton 66

o   I have no idea how Dayton lost this game. No more First-Four-to-Final-Four. No more Wichita State-Dayton final. Alas.

o   However, Oklahoma coming back was incredibly impressive. You get the sense next week’s Oklahoma-Michigan State Sweet 16 clash is really for a trip to the Final Four.

  • (2) Gonzaga 87, (7) Iowa 68

o   Don’t let this score fool you. Gonzaga is still the same old, same old. They’re just delaying the inevitable. Why? I don’t know. You can escape Iowa, but you can escape yourselves, Gonzaga.

  • (1) Wisconsin 72, (8) Oregon 65

o   Words cannot express how excited I am for the inevitable Wisconsin-Arizona Elite 8 rematch.

  • (5) West Virginia 69, (4) Maryland 59

o   Athletically, the Mountaineers looked to be on a different level than most teams in the tournament (read: Kentucky). Calling their defense a nuisance is too polite for what they did. They’ve been the most impressive team so far, next to Kentucky, of course, so next week’s West Virginia-Kentucky Sweet 16 matchup should be incredibly fun.

  • (4) Louisville 66, (5) Northern Iowa  53

o   Louisville looked like men playing among boys for most of the game. Poor UNI never had a chance.