The real first day of the NCAA Tournament was laced with drama, as you would expect. Here’s a quick rundown of the madness that is March:
- #1 seed Gonzaga got pushed to the brink by first time invitee and #16 seed Southern
- All three Pac-12 seeds advanced, including #12′s Oregon and Cal
- #3 Marquette was down 9 with just over a minute to go but rallies for a winning basket with 1.1 seconds left over #14 Davidson
- A #14 does beat a #3 when Harvard knocks off New Mexico late into the night
- #6 Memphis survives a litany of mistakes late to fend off #11 Saint Mary’s
- My upset of the day is yet another 12/5 matchup as I see Ole Miss taking down Wisconsin in the West Region. The Rebels have everything going for them coming off of their SEC Tournament Championship. They have a better overall record, score 12 more points per game, shoot a higher percentage on the floor and at the stripe, and they get two more rebounds and 2 more steals per game on average. I realize Wisky is thought to have played in the toughest conference in the country, but it really looks like the seeds should be reversed here. Look out Badgers!
- Another upset I have is not as severe, but I’ll take Colorado over Illinois in a 10/7 matchup in the East Region. The Pac-12 proved that they were woefully under-seeded yesterday and so why not this young and explosive Colorado team winning a game for the second straight year? On paper the matchup is a wash, so this is probably a game that comes down to a couple plays down the stretch. Look for Spencer Dinwiddie or Tyler Roberson to make those plays for the Buffs.
- My final upset special is the 11/6 matchup in the South Region, as Minnesota could very well take out UCLA. The Bruins lack their best athlete and most explosive scoring threat in Jordan Adams after he turned an ankle in the semi-finals of the Pac-12 Tournament. Shabazz Muhammad will have to come up big to help his squad avoid this upset, but I feel like the Golden Gophers’ Trevor Mbakwe might just be too much for a somewhat short Bruin bench. On top of that, Minnesota rebounds tremendously, while UCLA doesn’t rebound hardly at all. That could tell the story more than anything.