Well the second day of the tournament, or what we should call the real first round (First Round is on the floors so maybe everyone agrees now) is in the books and it was an interesting day to say the least.
Baylor, Wisconsin, Villanova,North Texas, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Florida and Oral Roberts all advanced in the South.
In the Midwest, Illinois, Loyola, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, West Virginia,
Rutgers and Houston all won.
For the ACC, UNC, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia Tech are done after one game.
We feel bad for Tech because if Moses Wright hadn't tested positive, he would have owned the inside and even without him, Tech played with the hearts of champions. We have immense respect for their effort. They represented the ACC incredibly well. We were also touched that Jose Alvarado wore Wright’s #5. That was really cool of him.
Not so much for UNC though as Wisconsin just ate them alive. We thought UNC’s big men would bail them out but half the million-dollar quartet didn’t show up and no one did much in the first half. Walker Kessler finished with two points, one rebound and one assist while Day’Ron Sharpe had four points and three boards.
In the second half, Armando Bacot woke up and finished with 15 points and four boards while Garrison Brooks had 10 points and 10 boards but finished the game like he was in a state of shock.
We weren’t surprised that Clemson lost, just a bit disappointed, and this is just Mike Young’s second year at Virginia Tech, so give him some time to build. He’s done a tremendous job to date.
On the bright side, we really thought San Diego State would get Syracuse, but lately, Buddy Boeheim has been just about unguardable. If he can keep playing at this level, he can take Syracuse farther than a lot of people might have thought. He’s really been incredible.
The notable upsets were North Texas taking out Purdue, Oregon State just whacking Tennessee (although Tennessee was without John Fulkerson, who was taken out by Florida’s Omar Payne in the SEC tournament in what turned out to be a season-ending injury. It completely escaped us that UT’s new athletic director is Danny White, brother of Florida coach Mike White and son of retiring Duke AD Kevin White.
Florida kept Payne out for the Virginia Tech game which was good, but he’s lucky not to have been charged with assault. We’ll be interested to see what happens Sunday.
What was amazing in the Oral Roberts upset was watching Ohio State slowly realize that these guys weren't going away and that they were going to have to take it up a notch to win.
Which they couldn't do, as it turned out.
Virginia, like Georgia Tech dealing with a positive test, just flew in to Indianapolis Friday night and boy are their arms tired.
There’s an excellent chance they lose to Ohio Saturday which would leave the ACC down to Florida State (we hope) and Syracuse.
Which leads us to this, which is fairly amazing: it’s a rare third Final Four that will take place without Duke, UNC or Kentucky. (note: we read this last night and should have linked and checked it).
There’s no since there. That’s ever. And unless we missed someone, with the entire tournament held in state, the state of Indiana has no one left if the field. But neither does the state of North Carolina or Kentucky.
Wait, we did forget a team- UNC-G gets Florida State on Saturday.
If Virginia manages to get out of this weekend, they’ll almost certainly see Gonzaga. And while everyone will concede that game to Gonzaga, consider this. Virginia played them in a quickie that both teams needed but with minimal preparation.
This time, the Cavs would have a week to prepare and to look at film from the earlier annihilation.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but if Virginia can slow them down, unlike last time, they’ll have a chance.
First though, they’ll have a very difficult weekend with minimal preparation.