Well, we had a bit of everything today. What was awesome was the fact it took until 6pm to get a blowout. We had people shitting their pants in late game scenarios. We had massive dunks. We had coaches losing their minds. We had close games. We had spreads not being hit. All in all a solid day. It’s rare we get day 1 to live up to the hype and expectations. I think we got that.
No. 10 Minnesota 86, No. 7 Louisville 76
First game of the day and first upset of the tournament (Minnesota +5.5). Minnesota is an absolutely dogshit 3pt shooting team. I may even be using that lightly. They were 285th in the country in 3pt shooting coming into this game. So what happens? They shoot 11-27 from three. That’s just something you only see this time of the year. Hell, the bench didn’t even score today. Just weird stats you only see in this beautiful, stupid event. More importantly a whole lot of bench mob dancing.
Now it’s officially March with Bill Murray popping up:
No. 3 LSU 79, No. 14 Yale 74
As for the game itself? Well, it made no sense. Yale started the game 5-for-31 from three. LSU should have been up 30. However, Yale just kept cutting away and cutting away. It helps when you have Miye Oni doing things like this:
LSU was balanced, which isn’t shocking. They have enough dudes to let Tremont Waters pick when to attack and distribute. Naz Reid and Bigby-Williams killed Yale on the glass with 7 offensive rebounds between the two.
More importantly it was a brutal loss for our guys:
No. 5 Auburn 78, No. 12 New Mexico State 77
Okay, this is where shit start to get crazy. Here just watch:
That doesn’t even show the turnovers and dumb fouls. Just the prototypical NCAA Tournament ending. Blow a big lead. Hold on. Don’t cover.
No. 4 Florida State 76, No. 13 Vermont 69
Pretty cool moment for Vermont. The 3 Duncan brothers all were on the court together. A first in NCAA Tournament:
This game was close the entire time with ultimately Florida State pulling away late and not covering. The key here though is Phil Cofer missed the game with a foot injury. Now, Florida State has the depth to overcome this, but there are times where it looked like they missed Cofer a bit.
No. 2 Michigan State 76, No. 15 Bradley 65
Well, chalk this one up to the close game no one expected. Bradley typically takes the air out of the ball and limit possessions. Despite this game being relatively high scoring they were in it. They just ended up going cold late. Cassius Winston continues to be one of the best point guards in the country and showed it again tonight. I’ll say this. Michigan State has to be thrilled to see Minnesota in the Round of 32 instead of Louisville. That’s a much better matchup for them.
No. 6 Maryland 79, No. 11 Belmont 77
This was probably the best game of the day. Belmont jumped out to a big lead as Dylan Windler was absolutely balling out. The dude is a 2nd round NBA pick and was playing like it. He finished with 35
No. 4 Kansas 87, No. 13 Northeastern 53
Nothing to say here. Kansas kicked Northeastern’s ass. That’s all.
No. 12 Murray State 83, No. 5 Marquette 64
Ja Morant did Ja Morant things
And dropped the first triple double in the NCAA Tournament since Draymond Green:
This was a complete ass kicking. I mean, don’t get me wrong I was impressed with Murray State, but I wonder if Marquette scouted the right opponent? It’s like they had no idea what to expect. Murray vs Florida State is going to be awesome.
No. 10 Florida 70, No. 7 Nevada 61
We almost saw Nevada go Nevada again. By that I mean get down 18 points in the second half and then win like they did last year in the NCAA Tournament. However, this year they were only able to cut it to 2-3 and then Florida held on and pushed the lead open late. Ultimately, this is a disappointing year for Nevada. The Wolf Pack were a consensus top-10 team in the preseason. I know that it wa a different look from last year getting away from the space with Caroline at the 5 and being able to switch everything to more of a bigger lineup with Caroline moves to the 3 or 4. That said, you still had the Martin twins and Caroline and ultimately they never could really put it together.
No. 6 Villanova 61, No. 11 St. Mary’s 57
Villanova being Villanova. This was a game dictated by Phil Booth, who Jay Wright just continues to have faith in during late game situations. This game sort of was how it was expected to be. Close, slow and reliant on two things. St. Mary’s ball screen offense was negated by Nova’s switching defense and then St. Mary’s running Nova off the 3pt line.
No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson 49
A complete ass kicking, but there was this cool moment:
No. 2 Kentucky 79, No. 15 Abilene Christian 44
This was a blowout so all that matters is the PJ Washington update. It doesn’t sound good. Not good at all. I’m on a fear level of 10. That is all.
No. 7 Wofford 84, No. 10 Seton Hall 68
I mean this is really all you need to see. Fletcher Magee was a goddamn stud in this game. He was a major reason as to why Wofford pushed that lead in the first half to double digits. Myles Powell went wild in the second half and actually even gave Seton Hall the lead. But, it felt like that took just so much energy out of him and he really wasn’t getting much help on the offensive side of the ball. Magee had Nathan Hoover hitting shots and giving Seton Hall different looks in offensive sets.
No. 9 Baylor 78, No. 9 Syracuse 69
How about Makai Mason, man? The guy beats Baylor when he’s at Yale a few years back and now he’s a grad transfer on Baylor battling injuries and drops 22 against Syracuse. I’ve always said it’s impossible to prepare for the 1-1-3 zone in March. Always said it.
No. 2 Michigan 74, No. 15 Montana 55
The only highlight from this game:
Okay, I lied. There was 1 more:
No. 3 Purdue 61, No. 14 Old Dominion 48
Honestly, this game was quite boring. It’s what ODU wanted. They slowed it down. They turned it into a slugfest. Unfortunately they only scored 48 points. Let’s hope we don’t get any more of these games.