I. TBB Goes 24-8 in First Round
After blazing out to a 15-1 start yesterday, I went a very pedestrian 9-7 in games today. The actual tournament bracket is permalinked on the right.
II. Today's Games: Results
--(2) Ohio State 70, (15) Davidson 62. The Wildcats managed just 38% from the floor and still nearly managed the upset.
--(9) Bucknell 59, (8) Arkansas 55. This defensive matchup did not disappoint. The Hogs made a run at the end by making some tough defensive steals, but the Bison made just enough free throws (barely) to hold them off. Bucknell's 11-21 3-pt shooting was the difference.
--(8) Arizona 94, (9) Wisconsin 75. The Cats shot 59% percent from the field and dominated the glass (36-20) in this laugher.
--(14) Northwestern State 64, (3) Iowa 63. The stats do not always tell the story. The Demons were outshot, outrebounded, and outscored from the free throw line, yet came out on top with a three as time was winding down. The Demons forced 18 Hawkeye turnovers, and held them to just 41 field goal attempts while NW State got up 60. It resulted in a 14 over 3 victory for the second consecutive year.
--(6) West Virginia 64, (11) Southern Illinois 46. The Mountaineers kept the Salukis at arm's length the entire contest. SIU attempted just four free throws in this game, and they were indeed Pittsnogled for 18 points.
--(1) Memphis 94, (16) Oral Roberts 78. ORU made a game of it in the first half and made another mini-run midway through the second, but there was too much Rodney Carney. Also, the Tigers shot a ridiculous 62% from the field.
--(7) Georgetown 54, (10) Northern Iowa 49. The slow pace kept this one to UNI's liking, but G'town controlled the game throughout. Roy Hibbert went for 17 and 9, while the Panthers managed a lowly 35% from the field.
--(1) Villanova 58, (16) Monmouth 48. The Hawks were game and kept this one competitive throughout. Nova shot a miserable 31% for the game. If MU could have managed a little better than 35% shooting, they would have had a good chance to do the unthinkable. Nova will need better efforts in the future to make any sort of run.
--(1) UConn 72, (16) Albany 59. The Great Danes led by 12 with under 11 minutes remaining, but UConn exploded on a 34-9 run to close the game.
--(10) NC State 58, (7) California 52. Cedric Simmons and Cameron Bennerman were huge down the stretch and Cal star Leon Powe struggled in a 5-13 shooting night as the Bears succumbed to the Pack. Powe did finish with 14 and 12.
--(2) Texas 60, (15) Penn 52. It was close throughout, but the Longhorns managed to pull away in the dying moments. Both teams shot terribly.
--(5) Pitt 79, (12) Kent State 64. Pitt controlled this one throughout and the Flashes were never able to mount a serious charge.
--(13) Bradley 77, (4) Kansas 73. The Jayhawks are going home early again this season. The Braves rang up 11 of 21 triples including five by Marcellus Sommerville(21 total pts) in a wire to wire win. Much like last year's Bucknell win, this was not THAT big of an upset. BU is very good.
--(11) George Mason 75, (6) Michigan State 65. All of those lackluster performances in the regular season were a harbinger of things to come. MSU's talented, senior-laden core is toast and GMU gets PG Tony Skinn back for their game with...
--(3) North Carolina 69, (14) Murray State 65. Murray State nearly pulled this off even after top scorer Shawn Witherspoon went down with a broken foot. This game was in doubt until the final horn and the Racers held the lead late on multiple occassions.
--(8) Kentucky 69, (9) UAB 65. It's tough to win NCAA games when shooting 31%, but UK did that by outscoring UAB 26-9 at the line. Role player Bobby Perry paced all scorers with 25 and was a difference maker.
III. Today's Games: Preview
--11:15: (2) Ohio State vs (15) Davidson. It's been awhile since the Buckeyes had expectations like this. -
-11:25: (3) Iowa vs. (14) Northwestern State. Defensive-minded Demons will need a top-notch effort to challenge the rugged Hawkeyes.
--11:30: (8) Arkansas vs (9) Bucknell. The Hogs have been hot, but Bucknell has tourney experience. These are two of the top teams in the country in terms of defensive efficiency.
--11:30: (8) Arizona vs (9) Wisconsin. Both of these teams were fairly unimpressive this season. Perhaps an NCAA Tourney win can jumpstart them.
--1:35: (7) Georgetown vs (10) Northern Iowa. G'town will try to get the Big East off the schnide. UNI languished down the stretch, but have been off for nearly two weeks. Maybe they have their heads right.
--1:45: (6) West Virginia vs (11) Southern Illinois. West VA: #11 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. SIU: #8 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Putcha hands together for dichotomy.
--1:50: (1) Memphis vs (16) Oral Roberts. ORU is not a run-of-the-mill 16-seed. Memphis should cruise, though.
--1:50: (1) Villanova vs (16) Monmouth. 'Nova's speed could cause this one to get ugly in a hurry.
Tonight's Games: Preview
--6:10: (5) Pittsburgh vs (12) Kent State. Panthers better not be looking forward to Kansas, even though EVERY talking head is.
--6:10: (6) Michigan State vs (11) George Mason. GMU will miss Tony Skinn. It is very difficult to pick against Tom Izzo in the NCAA Tourney.
--6:20: (7) California vs (10) NC State. One team made a run to their conference tourney finals, one has lost five straight. Cal is a tad overseeded, though. I still like the Bears in this one.
--6:25: (1) UConn vs (16) Albany. How can you root against a team called the Great Danes?
--8:30: (3) North Carolina vs (14) Murray State. I would like the Racers chances better against one of the other 3-seeds.
--8:30: (4) Kansas vs (13) Bradley. The Braves are one of the most dangerous 13-seeds ever. I had them pegged as a potential Sweet 16 Team heading into SelSun. But, KU is red hot as well. Tough break...for both, actually.
--8:40: (2) Texas vs (15) Penn. If Texas comes to play, they are one of the top three teams in this tournament.
--8:45: (8) Kentucky vs (9) UAB. Can UK's guards handle the Blazers' helter-skelter style? The answer to that question will likely determine the winner of this game.