No great surprise that UNC beat Radford of course, and congratulations to Tyler Hansbrough, who broke J.J. Redick's all-time ACC scoring record.
And of course UConn wasn't going to get beat by Chattanooga, but there were some surprising games otherwise.Â The scores weren't necessarily surprising, although course some were.
That some games were highly competitive was and some performances were really eye-opening.Â We were very taken with LSU's, for one.Â Those guys surprised us with their athleticism, their opportunism, and their very un-SEC-ish smarts.
|Texas A&M||Big 12|
|Western Kentucky||Sun Belt|
|N. Iowa||Missouri Valley|
And we truly expected Maryland to crumple. Instead, they played beautifully down the stretch. The Brazilians refer to soccer as "the beautiful game," but in our hearts and minds, it's basketball, and when teammates work as well as Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes did, that's beautiful. There are, we hope, a lot of Maryland fans who feel foolish for taunting this team earlier.Â Now consider this:Â who's played tougher opposition, Maryland or Memphis?Â Who's had more time to learn from hard knocks?Â And after playing Duke, UNC, Wake, Clemson, Michigan State and the rest, why would Memphis scare Maryland?Â And if they get past them, and UConn is upset, who's better than Maryland? We don't think they can beat the Huskies - Hasheem Thabeet changes things - but the rest of the field? Why not?
Speaking of Clemson, they absolutely panicked against Michigan and dug themselves a hole they couldn't get out of.Â Terence Oglesby didn't help:Â he got tossed in the first half after throwing an elbow and when Clemson mounted their comeback, a time when he is usually good for a couple of treys - he was in the locker room.Â If people start calling him Chokelsby, it's nobody's fault but his own.Â It was strikingly immature on his part and he may have cost his team the game.
A few games followed a similar pattern, with the underdog either taking a nice lead or else just hanging in for a good long time before yielding. Take Cal State Northridge.Â Those kids put the fear of God into Memphis.
American had a similar game against Villanova, as Jeff Jones' team held a big lead for a chunk of the game before falling behind late.Â But what a beautiful effort. Gonzaga got a stiff challenge from Akron before a hot streak zapped the Zips.
LSU rocked Butler before the Bulldogs pushed back. It was pretty clear that LSU had the better talent, but Butler for the last several years has had a patent on stubborn.Â It wasn't enough, but they still have it.
VCU, shooting for another substantial upset, almost got UCLA, but Darren Collison defended Eric Maynor beautifully and he missed the winning shot.
The rest of the games weren't as compelling, but the ugly incident in the Oklahoma game should be mentioned:Â Blake Griffin got tangled up with Morgan State's Ameer Ali, who flipped him over his shoulder. After his concussion, this could have been quite dangerous, and head injuries are ofÂ course in the news with the tragic death of the brilliant actress Natasha Richardson, who had a head injury while skiing and didn't realize her brain was being flooded with her own blood.
Oglesby's stunt was foolish, but Ali's could have been quite serious indeed.